A short guide for written works
Note: this applies for shorter papers (e.g. SPEAIT essays), diploma theses are a bit different thing.
Consider the following:
- RULE #1: If a prof enters any sentence from the paper (that is not clearly referenced) to a search engine and finds it on the Web,
the paper will get a lousy grade.
RULE #2: If most or all of the paper can be found on the Web, you will fail the course.Proper language and unified style should be used. Some topics allow for a moderate slang usage, it is however safer to use 'book language'.
- The volume should be 5-10 pages of content - some deviation is OK, but if the paper uses double spacing and 14-pt font to meet the
minimum volume, it is not acceptable.
- Free document formats (OpenDocument, standard HTML, plain text) are preferrable. PDF is OK, Microsoft's old formats (doc/xls/ppt) are a
backup option, Microsoft's new formats (docx/xlsx/pptx) are seriously deprecated.
- The paper should have a proper formal structure. It should start with a title page stating the name of the school and the author, plus the place and year of writing), followed by contents (if used; not compulsory for short papers), introduction, main text, conclusion and sources/references.
- A reader should be able to grasp the main point of the paper by reading just the introduction (states the topic and main issues) and the conclusion (states the results).
- Different referencing systems may be used, but references should be clear and distinguishable from original statements by the author. The simplest
way is to use a numbered list of sources and in-text referencing by numbers, e.g. "Peter Norton (3) has written...".
- In general, the minimum number of sources is 3-4.
- Wikipedia should not be used as a source (except when the topic is Wikipedia itself) - just as other encyclopedias, it is a secondary (referred) source by definition. The proper use of Wikipedia could be a) getting an initial overview of the issue, b) finding sources (the reference list of the Wikipedia article).
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