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Evaluate sources you find according to authority, accuracy, and currency. PLAGIARISM (How not to use research material)
University of Innsbruck library (ALEPH library catalogue) Humanities library (Bruno Sander Haus, ground floor) Databases: Many databases can only be accessed via the university network. Use a computer at the university or install a VPN client to log on to the system. You find the portal to access databases on the university library website: http://ub.uibk.ac.at. Some databases provide full text material, others provide sources for articles and books which you have to cross‐check with the library holdings. The most important databases for research in American Studies are: o MLA International Bibliography o Metalib o JSTOR o Academic Search Premier (via EBSCO host) o Contemporary Authors o Literature Online o Periodicals Index Online Video Archive: The Department of American Studies has its own video archive where DVDs and videos can be checked out free. Check the department’s website for more information. Internet: Well used, the Internet can be a great source for your research. However, always double‐check the quality of websites, the provider, and the author’s expertise and authority. The rule of thumb is: If you cannot find all the information you need for a complete and decent bibliographic entry, it is not a source worth using.
Plagiarism is the use of other people’s research achievements or ideas and passing them on as your own or using them without proper acknowledgement. Sources must be provided for direct quotes, summaries, and paraphrases of other people’s work or ideas. For details on how to avoid plagiarism see chapter 2 of the MLA Handbook. Course instructors have access to tools that reveal plagiarism. Students who plagiarize will be failed. TOPIC/THESIS (What your paper should focus on)
Before you start writing: ‐ Find a topic ‐ Choose a focus ‐ Phrase a research question ‐ Phrase your thesis statement (which should be included in your introduction) Information that is not important for your thesis statement does not belong in your paper. Therefore, avoid lengthy information about authors, plots, characters, periods, genres, etc. Focus on information that answers your research question(s) and that is essential to prove your thesis statement. FORMAT (What you paper should look like when you hand it in)
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Din A4 format double spaced (everything, including footnotes and bibliography) margins (standard margins, i.e. 2.5 cm on each side) font size: 12 page numbers on the top or bottom of each page, preceded by your last name The length of papers required may vary and is defined by your course instructor. General guidelines are 10‐15 pages (3,000‐5,000 words) for proseminar papers, 15‐20 pages (5,000‐7,000 words) for seminar papers, and 80‐120 pages (26,000‐40,000 words) for diploma theses. Before you start writing, make sure o your word processing program is switched to “English” (in menu item “Extras” and “Language”; this way quotation marks will appear correctly as “text“ instead of „text“) 1
the spell checker is switched on (in menu item “Extras” and “Spelling and Grammar” and then “Options…”) German auto corrections are disabled, e.g. Word often auto‐corrects “its” to “ist” (to edit this function enter menu item “Extras” and “Auto Corrections” and delete the entry from the list)
When you hand in papers, the sheets should be pinned together with a paperclip or simply put into a file jacket. Do NOT put every single sheet into a sheet protector! Do NOT put papers into expensive binders, portfolios, or folders! STRUCTURE (How your paper should be structured)
Research paper with chapters Research paper without chapters ‐...