Research Essay —
Marking Criteria and Guide Your major essay will be marked using the following five criteria.
Please follow this document closely as a guide when preparing your essay.
1. Quality of critical analysis and argument.
• Did the student present a clear and relevant argument in response to the question, and has the question been addressed effectively?
• Is there evidence of critical analysis of relevant concepts, theories and issues, or mere description of them?
• How deep and nuanced is their comprehension of the essay topic/question?
• Did the student provide relevant examples to illustrate their main points of argument?
2. Quality and depth of research.
• Is there evidence that the student has consulted an adequate number and range of sources for a 2,000-word, 2nd-year research essay (circa 10-12 quality sources)?
• Has the student consulted key and relevant literature pertaining to the topic?
• Are the sources primarily of a scholarly nature? (i.e. published academic books, journal articles and research reports). Acceptable additional, primary or secondary sources include government, IGO, and other official documents and websites, credible NGO reports, and quality news-media materials.
3. Clarity and logic of essay structure.
• Did the introduction provide context for the topic/question, clearly state the main argument in response to the question, and outline the essay’s scope and structure for the reader?
• Did the argument flow logically through the essay body?
• Were paragraphs separated at appropriate points?
• Did the conclusion summarise the key points of argument and suggest the significance of the argument/findings?
4. Conformity to correct referencing/citation guidelines.
• Did the student use a relevant citation style/system in the essay? (i.e. Chicago/Harvard intext citation style; Cambridge footnote style).
• Is the citation style used consistently? (i.e. no ‘mixing & matching’).
• Were direct quotes properly acknowledged? (i.e. use ‘quotation marks’ and citation).
• Did the student adequately acknowledge passages in which other authors’ words and/or ideas were paraphrased? (i.e. provide citation).
• Was a reference list provided at end of essay (only listing works actually cited)?
• Were in-text citations/footnotes and the reference list correctly formatted?
5. Presentation and communication.
• Was the essay clearly communicated to the reader?
• Was the language/expression too informal for an academic essay? • Were spelling and grammatical errors noted in the work?
• Was the essay presented correctly? (12pt font, double-spaced, 3cm margins).