Writing about Literature Seminar Paper vs Research Paper TDK 24 Feb 2012
The literary essay Flexible form – formal or informal when informal: ideas are presented and argued supported by quotations
Periodicals with literary essays • TLS The Times Literary Supplement http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/the_tls/ • London Review of Books http://www.lrb.co.uk/ • The New York Review of Books http://www.nybooks.com/
The academic essay Tends to be formal, with a set of rules depending on the area of expertise Disciplines covered by SEAS: http://seas3.elte.hu/seas/research/publications.html
Examples from DES • angolPark http://seas3.elte.hu/angolpark/ • The AnaChronisT http://anachronist.atw.hu/ Style guide for literature: e.g., MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (Joseph Gibaldi)
For a seminar paper • Check requirements of instructor, concerning theme, content, method, form • Select a work or a problem that is of interest to you. • Choose a title that describes a question or problem. • Collect the points that you want to make, and build an argument from them. • Support your points and arguments by quotations from the work(s) in question, using critical sources as well. Always provide the source of your quotation.
In the introduction explain what you want to do, such as analyse a book from a certain point of view; compare the treatment of a problem in two or more works; describe a feature of an author's style or other strategy in two or more works by the same author; discuss a more theoretical question of literature using works as examples. Problems to discuss and features to analyse include narration, characterisation, structure, style, motifs, use of symbols, treatment of social or moral issues. • Then go ahead and write an interesting, argumentative paper • In your conclusionsummarise your results. What have you learnt from all your work? How could you sum up your most important discoveries for someone new to your topic?
For a research paper • Choose a topic • Write a project proposal • Gather background information • Have something to say • Arrange your points, make your thought processses visible • Write it up in clear but formal academic English • Format your work in accordance with style guides
Topic • Well researched topics: lots of references are available YOU have to provide a new approach • Novelty topics: not much competition but difficult to find supporting evidence dangers of being too interdisciplinary dangers of having to do too much for one work or one person
Project proposal A project proposal (for a paper, a thesis or a book) is a strategic presentation of the scope, aims, method and projected outcome of the proposed research. Please do not write a general introduction to your topic as a project proposal. This is the place to outline what point you might want to concentrate on, how you want to go about discussing them, what you are hoping to achieve by doing so.
Background information See the difference between • what YOU needed to know in order to write your paper - more of this for a sem papr • What YOUR READERS need to know in order to understand your paper – this is what you need to include at the appropriate time/place/manner
Taking notes • Build a list of works consulted for easy reference • Keep YOUIR ideas and ideas you FOUND separate • Save quotations (with reference) • Highlight key words (to see connections) • Write your own ideas and comments on quote ↓ these will be the building blocks of the main body of your work
Results Contribute something to the accumulated body of knowledge and ideas: renew shemata, make sg appear new and interesting, whether the focus is philoloical, stylistic, theoretical ….
Arrangement • Arrange your points and make your thought processes visible. • Draw a tree: make a visual representation of the structure of your paper. • Observe your tree: reconsider line of argumentation to follow the proportions you see. • Revisit your tree periodically.
Writing it up • Where to put references (in text) • Where to put asides (footnotes, endnotes) • Where to put helpful extra material (appendix) • Where to put quotations (text, footnotes, endnotes, appendix?) • What language to quote (original? language of paper?) • What language to write your paper in?
Donald Hall and Sven Birkerts Beth S. Neman Writing Well Teaching Students to WriteLongman 9th ed. Oxford University Press 2nd ed.
Formatting • Consult required style guides • online: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/
Joseph Gibaldi:MLA Handbook for Writers of Research PapersNew York: The Modern Language Association of America (7th edition)