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Requirements for All Papers HIA 311

Basic requirements

All papers submitted to me must:

Sources and citations

Citations are crucial. All direct quotations, indirect quotations, and ideas from other sources MUST BE footnoted according to a standard citation style, and referring to a bibliography at the end of the paper. This is extremely important and failure to do this will seriously affect your grade. (See the booklet for more on citations and bibliographies.)

Note that providing citations only for direct quotes is NOT sufficient. This is a common mistake and will result in your paper being marked down. You must cite all information, paraphrases and ideas from your sources—anything that is not your own discussion and analysis.

Quality of evidence. The arguments you are making in your paper MUST BE supported by evidence from primary and/or secondary sources—ideally a balanced mix of the two. (The number of required sources depends on the assignment.) You may NOT use tertiary sources for any assignment you hand in to me. Tertiary sources include textbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, my lectures, and almost everything on the internet.

See me for guidance. I am available anytime, by email or in office hours, to discuss your sources, citations, or any other aspect of your paper. There are also resources about structuring, researching, writing, and footnoting position papers on the Student Resources page of my website.

Submitting your paper

Handing it in  

The paper may be (a) handed in in class, or (b) submitted by email in a DOCX, DOC, PDF, ODT, or RTF format to mark.wilson@lehman.cuny.edu. Note: Your email submission only “counts” if you receive a reply back from me saying I got it. Please do not leave your paper in the bin outside my office door. As stated in the syllabus, any late submissions are marked down 10 points per class meeting.

Optional draft  

For any paper you can submit an optional draft no later than two class meetings before the due date. I won’t grade it, but I’ll give you some feedback about how well you’re addressing the topic and thesis of your paper. Your draft should be most of the paper (generally three quarters at least); for the parts you haven’t written, please insert a note in brackets that outlines what you intend to write.

General grading criteria

Your paper should

(See the elephant booklet for more on thesis statements and structuring your paper to support your argument.)

I grade a paper by evaluating how it succeeds in a few key categories. I consider all of the following expected of a college-level position paper.


If you don’t meet the basic requirements of the paper, you’ll be marked down. So make sure you look over the requirements before submitting your paper!

Deductions you can reverse: Some kinds of deductions can be remedied by submitting a revised version of the paper within a week of the graded paper being returned. The paper will not be regraded for content. The reversible deductions are: No cover sheet; no page numbers; no bibliography; some or all citations missing.

Deductions you can’t reverse: I’ll mark you down if the paper is submitted late (10 points per class meeting up to 30 points) or if it does not meet the length requirements (significantly too short or too long). Plagiarized papers will, of course, receive a zero and possible academic disciplinary action. A successive violation will result in failure of the course and academic disciplinary action. Make sure you understand about academic dishonesty; see the syllabus for more.