POLS1102 The Contemporary International System
Major Essay — Questions and Guide
Please note the following points:
You must address one of the essay questions listed below. There is no option to design your own question due to the large number of students enrolled.
Make sure you read the question carefully and address the question directly.
Please clearly state your essay question on the essay itself. This will not be included in your word count. Your reference list will also not be included in your word count.
Start planning your essay early by:
Choosing a topic,
Gathering relevant materials, and
‘In the post-Cold War era, globalization has fundamentally eroded state sovereignty’. Critically evaluate this claim and use relevant examples to illustrate your main points.
‘Realism is the only International Relations theory that can explain how the international system actually works (rather than how we might like it to be).’ Critically evaluate this claim and use relevant examples to illustrate your main points.
‘Greater inter-dependence between actors will foster a more stable and peaceful international order.’ Critically evaluate this claim, often made by liberal International Relations theorists, in the light of the conflict in Ukraine.
‘International security has fundamentally changed since the end of the Cold War.’ Critically evaluate this claim and use relevant examples to illustrate your main points.
Essay Writing Guide
Use this guide and the rubric attached to the Essay Assessment on LMS when writing your essay.
Quality of critical analysis and argument.
Did the student present a clear and relevant argument in response to the question, and has the question been addressed effectively?
Is there evidence of critical analysis of relevant concepts, theories and issues, or mere description of them?
How deep and nuanced is their comprehension of the essay topic/question?
Did the student provide relevant examples to illustrate their main points of argument?
Quality and depth of research.
Is there evidence that the student has consulted an adequate number and range of sources for a 1,500-word, first year research essay (circa 6-10 good sources)?
Has the student consulted key and relevant literature pertaining to the topic?
Are the sources primarily of a scholarly nature? (i.e. published academic books, journal articles and research reports). Acceptable additional, primary or secondary sources include government, IGO, and other official documents and websites, credible NGO reports, and quality news-media materials.
Clarity and logic of essay structure.
Did the introduction provide context for the topic/question, clearly state the main argument in response to the question, and outline the essay’s scope and structure for the reader?
Did the argument flow logically through the essay body?
Were paragraphs separated at appropriate points?
Did the conclusion summarise the key points of argument and suggest the significance of the argument/findings?
Conformity to correct referencing/citation guidelines.
Did the student use the recommended citation style/system in the essay?
Is the citation style used consistently? (i.e. no ‘mixing & matching’).
Were direct quotes properly acknowledged? (i.e. use ‘quotation marks’ and citation).
Did the student adequately acknowledge passages in which other authors’ words and/or ideas were paraphrased? (i.e. provide citation).
Was a reference list provided at end of essay (only listing works actually cited)?
Was the reference list correctly formatted?
Presentation and communication.
Was the essay clearly communicated to the reader?
Was the language/expression too informal for an academic essay?
Were spelling and grammatical errors noted in the work?
Was the essay presented correctly? (12pt font, 1.5-spaced, MsWord or Pdf format).
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