Overall, the assessment of this course is intended to collectively assist you in developing and improving your written and oral communication skills, and provide you with the opportunity to acquire foundational knowledge of the topic through the development of analytical and critical thinking skills. Your assignments are also intended to expose you to a variety of different “types” of writing and oral communication that you will undertake during your career. I have provided study questions for each of my lectures and for all the required readings. Use these to guide you as you prepare for the mid-term and final examination. Unless you have a valid reason (as outlines in the university calendar and discussed with me) incompletes will not be allowed. Each assignment is subject to a 5% deduction each day if handed in after the beginning of the class on the day it is due. No assignment will be marked if handed in one (1) week after the due date. Unless otherwise indicated, all assignments must be: Typewritten in 11 pt Arial font; Double-spaced; Paginated; Use 1” margins on all sides; Be provided with footnotes and bibliography composed in accordance with the most recent edition of Kate L. Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations(if you do not have a copy buy one at the bookstore); and Submitted electronically. Failure to follow A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations will result in assignments not being marked. Please note that APA and MLA methods are not used by historians and are not acceptable in papers submitted. Engage in formal writing that requires utilization of all stages of the writing process; Demonstrate reading comprehension through the communication of an original synthesis; Identifying and ascertain relationships between texts and write to inform others about the content and their own arguments; and Improve their ability to select engaging and appropriate evidence to support their argument(s). A critical review is an evaluation of a book’s strengths, weaknesses and validity. It is used to inform readers of a book’s value through explanation, interpretation and analysis. The two books you are required to review are Broken Spears (due 7 November) and Things Fall Apart (due 23 March). The reviewer must present information that will allow the reader to make a value judgment about the book. Reviews must have an introductory section to establish a focal point for discussion. The second part characterizes the author’s treatment of the subject, and the final section brings the paper to a conclusion. A conclusion must deal with the essence of the author’s arguments. Students are free to agree with the author on every point, disagree with the author on every point, or any combination of the two. The important thing is that students offer insights into what contribution they believe the book makes to the literature on the subject and who, if anyone might benefit from reading it. In reviews of two or more books the emphasis is on comparison. Therefore, the introductory section establishes a focal point of comparison between the two books. The second part characterizes each author’s treatment of the “problem.” The final section brings the paper to a conclusion by way of synthesis or repudiation; in other words, the conclusion offers a suggestion of an interpretive orientation consisting of elements of both perspectives under review or an argument against one or both authors. Questions to be considered while reading: Is there any bibliographic information about the author given? What are the author’s qualifications and authority? Who is the intended audience? Define the general problem area. What does the author intend to discuss? Why? Does the author build on past research? What is the objective or purpose of the research? Is it clearly stated? Does the author define any terms? Are the definitions specific and useful? Are references given? Are the references recent, important? What are the author’s major findings and conclusions? Have these been supported by the author’s analysis, arguments, findings or evidence? Has the author overlooked anything? Does the author accomplish his or her objective? Does the author do what he or she has set out to do? Does the author suggest areas for further research or discussion? These questions are meant for you to develop a critical understanding of the reading and are not meant as a guide for how to structure your review. Finally, as you read through the book and begin to prepare to write, keep in mind the advice of Mary Lynn Rampolla who suggests that when writing a review, “You not only report on the content of the book but also assess its strengths and weaknesses. Students sometimes feel unqualified to write a book review; after all, the author of the book is a professional historian. However, even if you cannot write from the same level of experience and knowledge as the author, you can write an effective review if you understand what the assignment requires. In writing a review, you do not just relate whether or not you liked the book; you also tell your readers why you liked or disliked it. It is not enough to say, “This book is interesting”; you need to explain why it is interesting. Similarly, it is not enough to report that you disliked a book; you must explain you reaction. Did you find the book unconvincing because the author did not supply enough evidence to support his or her assertions? Or did you disagree with the book’s underlying assumptions?” Drafting Your Analysis: Begin to write following your outline. Use clear concise sentences. Be sure you write careful transition sentences. Since you are comparing several things at once you must not confuse the reader. Each paragraph should contain a topic sentence, several sentences in support of the topic and a conclusion/transition to the next paragraph. For example if you are writing about differences be clear about that. It is suggested you use words and phrases like “in contrast” or “similarly” to aid your transitions—but do not over-do this and repeat the same phrase over and over. Revising and Submitting Your Analysis Finish your draft with enough time to revise it. Read it aloud or read it syllable by syllable to detect errors. Double check to see that your essay has a lead-in, body paragraphs with examples, and a conclusion. Make sure your transition from compare to contrast and between topics is clear to readers. Ask yourself if you have addressed the specific questions asked. Ask if all of the historical examples you have used are correct.  Mary Lynn Rampolla, A Pocket Guide to Writing in History (Boston: St. Martin’s Press, 1995), 4-5. ~~~For this or similar assignment papers~~~
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