Does your essay put forward and justify an argument in response to the question

The coursework essay constitutes 80% of the overall mark for this module.

The essay should be of 2,500 words (the range 2,250-2,750 is acceptable).

You need to choose your own essay title, in consultation with the module leader.

Essays need to be submitted online via Moodle before the deadline of 4.00 pm on Thursday 3 January 2019.

Advice on essays is provided on the last two slides of the PowerPoint presentation for the first lecture for this module, as well as on page 4 of the module outline.

If you have any questions regarding your essay, you are encouraged to consult your module leader during designated office hours (Tuesdays 9.00-9.50 and Fridays 10.00- 10.50 during term), or at an alternative time by asking for an appointment by email.

You are encouraged to discuss your planned essay structure with the module leader before writing up the essay. You can use your presentation to test your planned approach to your essay.

II. Choosing your essay title

You may pick one of the weekly discussion questions, or develop a question of your own. In either case, you should let the module leader know your chosen essay title, ideally by 9 November 2018. Discussing your proposed title during office hours is advisable.

You are free to choose topics that extend beyond those covered in the reading list, so long as the title relates to transnational social movements. For instance, you may wish to write about a movement concerned with problems beyond the issue areas considered in the weekly topics in the module outline.

For this module, essay questions are commonly centred around topics such as explaining the origins and evolution of particular transnational social movements, explaining the impacts of particular transnational social movements, or asking how well social movement theory helps us understand a particular movement’s work. This is just a selection of possible themes: the kinds of questions set in the reading list for the weekly seminar discussions should provide further inspiration.

You should try to make your focus as precise as possible. Although comparisons may be made, generally using no more than two case studies is recommended.

III. Properties of good essays

Good essays demonstrate understanding of both empirical and theoretical material. Applying theoretical perspectives (especially the material on framing, mobilizing structures, and opportunity structures) to a case study is often a good approach. Good essays are also clearly argued, logically structured, and strongly focused on the question.

For essays at this level, around 12-15 readings are expected. You may combine reference to academic readings with reference to primary sources (e.g. the documents and websites of NGOs, activists, and their targets, as well as media and policy reports). A


critical approach needs to be taken to primary sources. All references should be appropriately cited. You are encouraged to go beyond the reading list.

Examples of high-scoring essays from previous years are provided on Moodle.

IV. Essay checklist

Before submitting your essays, please check if you can answer yes to each of the following questions…

1) Have you directly answered the specific question you have chosen for your essay title?

2) Does your essay put forward and justify an argument in response to the question?

3) Have you made sure that there is no irrelevant material in the essay?

4) Does your opening paragraph specify what you interpret the question is referring to, and provide an indication of how the rest of the essay will answer the question?

5) Is your essay no more than 2750 words long?

6) Is your essay no less than 2250 words long? (Shorter essays are unlikely to have considered enough relevant material)

7) Does your essay have a clear structure?

8) Is your conclusion justified by the material in the preceding sections of your essay?

9) Have you considered all the relevant arguments in response to the question? (Even if you believe some arguments to be weaker than others, you should still explain why the weaker arguments are weak)

10) Have you enclosed all quotations within quotation marks and provided references for them? Have you also ensured that each element of the essay that draws substantially from another source is referenced?

11) Is your essay based on wide reading (i.e. much more than just the core readings and the lecture notes)?

12) Have you included a bibliography of all that you have read for the essay?

13) Have you combined analysis with empirical support? (Case studies are a useful form of empirical support)

14) Have you ensured that your empirical evidence (including case studies) is focused on transnational social movements?

15) Analysis for this module can often be assisted by reference to relevant components of social movement theory (e.g. framing, mobilizing structures, opportunity structures). If you have referred to mobilizing structures and/or opportunity structures, have you made sure that you have not confused mobilizing structures and opportunity structures?

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