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History of the Middle East

Essay Guidelines: History of the Middle East
Most of you would have written a few essays in your student career but it is still important to remember the
following guidelines, according which I will mark your essays:
For an essay, you are asked to create your own essay title, formulate an essay question and an original argument.
Your essay should have an introduction, in which you sketch out the importance of the topic and introduce your
research question. It should then have a main body, clearly structured in paragraphs, in which you discuss the
question in relation to the relevant sources and literature. The conclusion summarises your findings and is again
an opportunity for you to demonstrate your critical and creative thinking. Throughout the essay, you have to
demonstrate that you have read and understood all the essential readings for the course and particularly the ones
on the topic which you are writing about. As you will be responding to multiple readings, you must also
understand how the texts relate to one another. You might also want to situate the readings within the larger
context of class discussions and lectures. In preparing to write your essay, it is crucial that you allow yourself not
just enough time to do the readings but enough to digest what you have read and to put the results together into
an original account. An essay can also be personal and reflexive and it is an opportunity to be creative and to
explore the fluidity of academic writing. Ethnography, visuals, cultural productions, and further sources might
be included in your essay as long as they are relevant to your essay question and relate to the texts we read in the
course. Remember that an essay is an academic piece of writing, and hence must include a bibliography of all the
sources used, cited in the correct way (Harvard citation style). Include a title in your essay as titles are a great way
to introduce the reader to your work, and to capture their attention.
Basis criteria, which you have to demonstrate and according to which you will be assessed:
– understanding of the subject
– utilisation of proper academic style (e.g. citation of references, bibliography)
– relevance of material selected and of the arguments proposed
– planning and organisation
– logical coherence
– critical thinking
– comprehensiveness of research
– evidence of synthesis
– innovation, creativity, originality

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