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LIBRARY AND LEARNING COMMONS

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Learning Skills Advisors Subject Librarians
Charmaine Botha Sibusisiwe Mgquba
Focus: Focus
Health Sciences, Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Social Sciences,
PGD & HDR PGD & HDR
Tel: 011 950 4455 Tel. 011 950 4150
charmaine.botha@monash.edu Sibusisiwe.mgquba@monash.edu
John Small Linda Mbonambi
Focus Focus
Bus Eco, IT, HDR, PGD & FP Bus Eco, IT, HDR, PGD & FP
Tel: 011 950 4248 Tel: 011 950 4032
John.small@monash.edu Linda.mbonambi@monash.edu

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Its like being a lawyer presenting a case in court:

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What do we want to achieve with
an academic research
assignment?

RSD facets of research


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Assignment 1

Essay 1

Due date: September 9

Details of task: ESSAY ONE QUESTIONS: CHOOSE ONE: (WORD LIMIT: 1500) with at least
10 referenced materials.
"The high rate of divorce in modern societies, notwithstanding, marriage still remains
a highly valued social institution". Discuss this assertion using appropriate sociological
theory and evidence.

What is alternative medicine? What types of health problems has biomedicine not
been very effective in tackling? Why do you think this is the
case?
Using illustrative examples, discuss how contemporary family and household
structures have become more diverse.

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Assignment 2

Essay 2

Due date: October 10

Details of task: ESSAY TWO QUESTIONS: CHOOSE ONE: (WORD LIMIT 1500) with at
least 10 referenced materials.
1. Do you think rapid global population growth is a cause for alarm? Use examples to
justify your position.
2. Using at least two sociological theories, explain the contemporary patterns of
migration in
Southern Africa.
3. Assess the impact of globalisation on the structure and role of the mass media in
the world today.
4. Evaluate Marxist theories of the ownership and control of the mass media.

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Additional Instructions

Academic essay format,


Structure of the Essay
Orients reader with proper introduction by outlining objectives of
essay.
Ends with a conclusion that is derived from the argument and
information discussed in the body of paper.
Descriptive headings
Reference list
Easy to read, fluent, appropriate style, correct grammar & spelling,
adequate length, and good editing.

The Harvard style of referencing is required.

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Presentation requirements:

WORD COUNT? .

Double spacing
12 point font size
Title of assessment, name, student number on first page
Page numbers on bottom right corner
Referencing on a separate page following the essay
A signed assessment cover sheet MUST be attached to the front of the
essay
Assignments must be submitted through Turnitin at least 48 hours before
the due date and your originality score MUST be included at the bottom of
your index (below your word count)

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Rubric: Letter to the Editor

Sample marking rubric


Criteria for marking:
Clarity and logical development of essay; the use of academic evidence and examples to support points being made,
the extent of your research, the structure of your argument, the content and range of issues covered and correct
citation formatting, clarity of expression, spelling and grammar and the adequacy of your bibliography.

Poor (N) Developing (P) Average (C) Good (D) Excellent (HD)

Understanding and interpretation of the question

Extent and relevance of research


Comprehension and effective use of relevant
academic literature from credible sources
Range of issues identified and well
conceptualised
Quality and coherence of analysis/argument
(including sufficient supporting evidence)
Structure of the essay
(ie. clear introduction and conclusion, with
coherent paragraphs linked through the body of
the essay)
Clarity of writing and quality of expression,
spelling and grammar
Consistent and accurate referencing (ie. correct
citation format and reference list/bibliography)

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Analysing your question

Begin by identifying the key concepts e.g.


the topic/content areas
Identify the directive words e.g. analyse,
discuss, etc.
Note any limitations e.g. scope, time
period, field of study, area
Format of the assignment (essay, report,
review, poster, annotated bib etc)

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Key concepts
Limitations
Directive words Analysing the question
Format

"The high rate of divorce in modern societies,


notwithstanding, marriage still remains a highly
valued social institution". Discuss this assertion
using appropriate sociological theory and
evidence.
What is alternative medicine? What types of
health problems has biomedicine not been very
effective in tackling? Why do you think this is the
case?
Using illustrative examples, discuss how
contemporary family and household structures
have become more diverse
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Key concepts
Limitations
Directive words
Analysing the question 2
Format

1. Do you think rapid global population growth is a


cause for alarm? Use examples to justify your
position.
2. Using at least two sociological theories, explain
the contemporary patterns of migration in
Southern Africa.
3. Assess the impact of globalisation on the structure
and role of the mass media in the world today.
4. Evaluate Marxist theories of the ownership and
control of the mass media.

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Analysing /Discussing

WHY?
WHAT ? WHEN?

WHERE? HOW?

WHO?

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The high rate of divorce in modern
societies, notwithstanding,
marriage still remains a highly
valued social institution". Discuss
this assertion using appropriate
sociological theory and evidence Using
appropriate
sociological
marriage still theory and
remains a evidence
discuss
highly valued What?
social Who?
institution
Why?
When
Where?
How?
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What is alternative medicine? What
types of health problems has
biomedicine not been very effective
in tackling? Why do you think this is
the case Using
appropriate
sociological
*alternative theory and
medicine
evidence
*Biomedicine discuss What?
not effective Who?
Why?
When
Where?
How?
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Using illustrative examples, discuss
how contemporary family and Using
household structures have become appropriate
more diverse sociological
theory and
evidence

Diversity of
contemporary family What?
and household discuss Using
Who?
structures illustrative
Why?
examples
When
Where?
How?

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Find Witnesses
Once you have identified the content area you will
need to examine, you will need to consider what types
of resources are required (books, journals, websites,
statistics, etc.) and set about acquiring them.
Look at your reading list, use the reference lists of
these books and journals, and identify what will be
required.
Remember you will need to evaluate the worth of
these resources, so read critically.
Decide what kind of supporting information will be
necessary, and set about organising your resources to
achieve your goal. Often books are good for big
picture information, while journals are often good for
supporting details.
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Library resources
Resource Name Keywords Results Comments
SEARCH
Library Catalogue Main key concept (e.g.) Physical Book(s) in SA libarary SA has limited books in this area at least
one or two versus large number of students
Physical Books (lecturer needs to reserve)

E-Books
Electronic Books Everyone can use the same e-book at
Do a secondary search within the book of your the same time
sub-key concept

DATA BASES Keywords Results Comments


(S) > Main key concept(e.g.)
Africa and South African research Articles relevant to
SA e Publications and publications SA and Africa
Journal articles / Books/ available
Theses/ Web pages

(G) > Google Scholar Main key concept (e.g.)


International research Large number of articles
(Monash) Examples of relevant articles in available - international
(F) Families and Societies journals and other resources as well
Collection (these are interdisciplinary
(S) > Sociology Abstracts databases)
(E) > Expanded academic

Main key concept (e.g.)


WEBSITEs
See Sociology Lib-guide

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Finding Resources General Search:
Type in key concepts to
do a general search
under the Monash SA,
e-book or Online
Articles tab
Finding a specific Database:
Chose letter on the A-Z list:
(or according to subject):
Expanded Academic ASAP
Sociological Abstracts
Families and Society
Collection
SAe Publications

Using Lib Guides: Select


Arts >>> Sociology
Citing and referencing Tutorial
Citing and referencing
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Topic 1
marriage
social institution
Value
Topic 2 Importance
alternative medicine OR
biomedicine effective
biomedicine ineffective /failed Topic 3
contemporary family structures
contemporary household structures
Diverse families
diversity
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Mapping your argument :
Essay Outline

Once you have analysed the topic and gathered


references, you will need to construct a rough
outline /plan.
Some students prefer to make a plan before
reading, some after. However, it is important to
remain flexible, as your knowledge of the topic and
opinion on it may change as you read more.
You might find that your witnesses are vague or
unreliable and you may need to find others

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The essay/letter structure
Can be seen as a diamond with the introduction and conclusion at the top and bottom and the
body paragraphs fitting into the middle of the diamond in a series of smaller diamond shapes.

Connect to
next paragraph
and main idea

Your
own
voice

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Body paragraphs
Paragraph element Purpose

1. Topic This sentence starts by referring to the thesis/your argument. It


Sentence continues to include the main point of this paragraph (your voice)

2. Additional This explains further the point made in the topic sentence. (your voice)
Information

3. Evidence These are essential to justify your point. Your evidence comes from
sentences your research and may include examples, data, quotes, statistics,
graphics and illustrations. All supporting evidence must be from
authoritative sources and cited in your essay. (quote or paraphrase
reference /witness voice)

4. Concluding Again, this sentence links the main thesis of the essay with the main
sentence point of the paragraph. (your voice) and links to the next paragraph

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ACADEMIC WRITING
Compare the changes in these sentences from informal to academic style.

Informal writing Academic writing


When I look at the situation in If we consider the situation in
emergency wards, with many staff emergency wards, with increasingly
leaving, it's hard not to worry low staff retention rates, there are
about how many doctors will be concerns about the capacity of
available to treat patients in the hospitals to maintain adequate
future. doctor to patient ratios.
It's so obvious that people were It appears that in a number of
given jobs just because they were instances jobs were assigned on the
male or female. I don't think that is basis of gender. Given the current
an acceptable approach and is even anti-discrimination laws, this raises
against the law. serious concerns.

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MORE TIPS
Objective writing: In general, academic writing aims to be objective in its
expression of ideas. Therefore specific reference to personal opinions, or to
yourself as the performer of actions, is usually avoided. .
Expressing opinions
Personal 'Objective'
In my opinion It has been argued that
I believe that Some writers claim
In my view Clearly,
It is clear that
There is little doubt that
Avoiding too much reference to yourself as agent in your writing
(Passive vs active voice)
Agent or performer No agent or performer

I undertook the study The study was undertaken


I propose to It is proposed to
In this essay I will examine This essay examines
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What do you need to remember?
You will notice that, in general, in academic writing we:

minimise the use of the personal I in the text: avoid writing


'When I look; I don't think this is an acceptable approach
(avoid this by using passive voice E.g. This is not thought (considered)
to be an acceptable approach)
use formal verbs, and fewer verb phrases (verb + preposition),
use consider rather than look at
use impersonal expressions: there are, this raises
use more nouns than verbs: concerns, rather than to worry
avoid emotional expressions, such as it's so obvious ( it
appears is preferable); just because ( assigned on the basis of is
preferable)
aim for concise, often abstract expression, e.g. gender, rather
than male or female.

http://www.monash.edu/lls/llonline/writing/general/academic/index.xml
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RESOURCES:
The minimum required number is nine reading materials.
Consistent and accurate use of referencing style (Harvard).
Appropriate use of quotes, proper spelling of authors names,
and correct in-text referencing.
Correct use of primary & secondary resources.
Comprehensive and proper listing (alphabetical order) of
references at the end of Essay.

Key points to consider in choosing your sources include:


1. The authority and qualification of the authors/internet sites.
2. The scope and main purpose of the texts/articles.
3. The relevance of the selected work to your essay
4. The weakness/limitation of the selected work (in relation to your
essay).

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Referencing requirements:
Plagiarism must be avoided. Materials used should be appropriately referenced
and included in a References Cited list
The preferred style in Sociology is the Harvard style. For further information on this
style of referencing, please see http://guides.lib.monash.edu/citing-
referencing/harvard
To build your skills in citing and referencing, and using different referencing styles,
see the online tutorial
Demystifying Citing and Referencing at
http://www.lib.monash.edu/tutorials/citing/
You will be assessed on the extent of your research, and the adequacy of your
bibliography. Your reference list should consist of AT LEAST 8 sources (not
including materials provided as part of the unit).

As well as this:
Citations must be provided in-text (do not reference using footnotes or endnotes).
A reference list is required, and it:
should only be those works you have cited in your assignment
must be given on a separate page at the end of your assignment
must be in alphabetical order
must be carefully checked for consistency of format throughout.
(Note: The reference list does not form part of the required word length.)
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Acknowledging your resources:
Citing and referencing
NB NB NB : if you cite and reference correctly, you will not plagiarize
Ways to cite and reference:
1. MANUALLY (DO the library on-line tutorial 15minutes):
http://monash.edu/library/skills/resources/tutorials/citing/
http://resources.lib.monash.edu.au/learning-objects/test/apa-quick-
guide/
2. Using MICRO-SOFT WORD REFERENCING (but you still need to
have the manual referencing background knowledge)
3. Using ENDNOTE (but you still need to have the manual referencing
background knowledge)

Referencing resources:
Monash Library Website, Moodle and Libguides
https://www.monash.edu/library/skills/resources/tutorials
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Additional resources on Referencing

Monash Share Drive


- UG - Library > Charmaine Learning
skills > Referencing

Lib Guides
Moodle

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ASK for HELP
For
assistance
with learning, writing or communicating
your findings,
contact
a learning skills advisor
in
the library

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