Write an autobiography of your involvement in sport or the lack thereof. Integrate relevant lecture materials, videos and readings with recollections of personal experiences in so doing. This is an exercise in applied sociology. Use what you are learning in the course to try to analyse your own experiences. The exercise is about “explaining,” not merely describing. You may write in the first person but you must refer to specific authors, research and/or theories (e.g., according to Smith’s theory of violence….) when writing it. Do include an appropriate and meaningful bibliography.
How to Avoid the Most Common Errors, and Raise Your Marks
Prepared by Olga Stein
Major issues with assignments as a whole
Thesis and essay structure
1) A thesis or overarching argument, usually made in the first several paragraphs is essential. This helps students structure their essays. With a thesis in place early in the paper, all the other tasks—analyses, proof provided, comments, observations—can be organized as a series of arguments supporting the thesis. That does not mean that every minor argument has to align with a single perspective. On the contrary, for an essay to be persuasive, counter-arguments should also be presented with a view to building a more complex or nuanced picture of the issue being addressed. The most effective arguments are ones that appear to be objective or, at the very least, not one-sided. The larger point here is that a thesis helps guide every component or part of an essay by supplying an overarching purpose for the essay as a whole.
Do not just summarize
2) A summary is fine, but at this level, a summary should do more than just summarize. It should provide the necessary background or touch on key aspects of a text that should enable that introductory section to conclude with a thesis statement. In other words, a summary should be seen as a way of building up to a thesis.
Do enough research
3) Research should be adequate (a few online sources are rarely enough) and should enable students to both defend a thesis and present a counter-argument. In other words, there should be enough detailed information that allows for a two-sided discussion. To be persuasive, an essay must examine both sides of an issue, and must be capable of marshalling enough evidence to overcome the counter-argument (the side one is arguing against).
Research should be incorporated in the form of quotes and relevant information that is paraphrased as concisely and clearly as possible.
Argue your point, and build a larger argument out of smaller ones
4) An essay is structured out of arguments. Therefore, lengthy descriptions of anything should be avoided. In particular, one should not describe at length something that is trivial or that which is not essential to making the points you need to make in support of your thesis. Lengthy descriptions waste space and waste the opportunity one otherwise has in an essay to analyze and discuss the present proof
Use Citations and apply APA format rules
5) In-text and end-of-text citations should follow APA guidelines. I expect both to be done properly.
Quotations are a necessary part of writing a research paper. While, it is fine to paraphrase and summarize content you read in a book or article, excerpts within quotation marks are not just alright—they are expected. Choose key points carefully (statements by authors that reinforce arguments you are making), and abide by the rules as follows:
a) Use quotation marks to avoid plagiarizing.
b) In a short essay summarize key information instead of quoting long passages.
c) Introduce your quoted statements using proper conventions. See below to understand when to use a comma, and when to use a colon. There are important reasons for using one or the other.
Norman Doidge states, “The brain heals itself.”
OR: Norman Doidge gives us the following assurance: “The brain has its own mechanisms for healing itself.”
d) Use proper formatting when quoting material. A quote that contains more than one sentence, or is longer than three lines, should be in block quote format.
Use the website below for help with in-text citations:
e) Please note that a period following an in-text citation should always appear after the closing parenthesis. However, in a block quote, the period appears before the opening parenthesis. In both cases, make sure to use ONE period ONLY.
f) An essay cannot be composed of one citation after another. The student must use a combination of strategies to write their paper. When every sentence consists of a citation, it appears as if the student is not actually writing their own paper but engaging in skillful plagiarism. Plenty of your own analysis must in evidence.
Follow the rules of grammar. Avoid error that will lower your grade.
1) Run-on Sentence: A run-on sentence occurs when two proper sentences (each containing a subject and predicate) are joined without punctuation or a connecting word. A run-on sentence can be corrected by adding a comma and a conjunction or by inserting a semicolon or period between the two sentences.
Example of a run-on: Trevor walks down a crowded street the sun beats down on him.
Corrected: Trevor walks down a crowded street. The sun beats down on him.
Or: Trevor walks down a crowded street as the sun beats down on him.
2) Comma Splice: A comma splice occurs when two sentences are connected with only a comma. A comma splice can be fixed by adding a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, nor, for, so, or yet) or a subordinating conjunction (while, after, when, and so on). The two sentences could also be joined by a semicolon (;) or separated by a period.
Example of a comma splice: I arrived at the airport, my flight would not be leaving for another three hours.
Corrected: I arrived at the airport, but my flight would not be leaving for another three hours.
Or: I arrived at the airport; my flight would not be leaving for another three hours.
Or: I arrived at the airport; however, my flight would not be leaving for another three hours.
*Note: The semicolon works the way a period does (it is not like a colon); it must be followed by a proper sentence (with a subject and predicate).
For additional help, look up: https://www.grammarly.com/blog/comma-splice/
3) Forming Plural Nouns The plural version of a singular noun should never contain an apostrophe.
Example: The plural form of the proper noun Nazi is Nazis, NOT Nazi’s.
4) Use an apostrophe to indicate possessive form
Examples: Kate’s hat the man’s car a person’s signature
For plural nouns ending with s form the possessive with the addition of an apostrophe
Examples: Rather than the girl’s horse, it would be the girls’ horse (the horse belongs to a number of girls)
Rather than the Nazi’s ideology, it would be the Nazis’ ideology
Rather than the boss’s rule, it would be the bosses’ rules
Rather than Mr. Smith’s mailbox, it would be the Smiths’ mailbox (the mailbox belonging to the Smiths)
5) Do not use contractions in essay writing. It is considered informal.
Instead of he’ll, write he will, instead of didn’t, write did not,
instead of would’ve, write would have
6) Similarly, avoid colloquial or informal words and expressions.
Instead of a lot of, write a great deal of. Do not use words like huge, amazing, neat, blown away, etc.
7) Italicize film titles, book titles, and names of magazines or newspapers: e.g., Olympia, The New York Times
8) Avoid a shift in person or subject.
Incorrect: While watching the marathon in Olympia, the tracking used by LR let me see the runners’ personal struggles.
Corrected version: While watching the marathon in Olympia, I was able to see the runners’ personal struggles because of the tracking used by LR.
*Note: Just because the subject is not named in the first part of the sentence, does not change the fact that you are the subject of the first part, and that you must remain the subject of the second part of the sentence.
9) Do not switch between the present tense and the past tense. Usually, when describing what is happening in a book or a movie, the present tense is used. For example: In Olympia, the athletes appear to be enjoying themselves as they march around the stadium and then stop and salute Hitler. OR: The author argues that there is not enough evidence for concluding that…
BUT when you need to suggest that something is the result of an event that had occurred earlier, you can use the past tense to avoid confusion. For example: Riefenstahl received support from the Nazi party, so that her focus on Owens and the portions of her film that show him beating his competitors, are surprising.
10) Make sure your verbs agree with your nouns. For example, plural noun requires a plural verb. This may seem like a basic rule, but some students are still not following it. So:
Jesse Owens (single noun) remains (verb is conjugated to accord with single noun) the most celebrated athlete of the Olympic Games.
BUT: Athletes (plural noun) from all of the participating nations march (verb accords with plural noun) around the stadium.
How I mark:
I like seeing signs of work in an assignment: proper planning, a strong introduction, no repetition, good flow from one main point to the next, and a concluding paragraph.
I will take marks off for poor grammar, and especially for what I see as sloppy work. I will not be inclined to reward papers that show no evidence of revision and editing. For more information on Involvement in Sport see this: https://www.encyclopedia.com/sports/news-wires-white-papers-and-books/sports-participation-and-attendance
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