The Final Paper
Your paper must be divided into sections, and possibly even subsections. This is why it is useful to start with an outline. Headings in a paper on the subject above might look like this:
II. History of the Cuban Missile Crisis
a. The Failure at Bay of Pigs
b. The Kennedys and the Military
c. Soviet Missiles in Cuba
d. Options on the Table
III. The Quarantine: Illegal Blockade or Lawful Self-Defense?
a. Blockades in Customary International Law
b. The Concept of “Armed Attack”
c. Quarantine as Preemption
i. Immediacy of the threat
ii. Severity of the threat
iii. Danger of the threat
IV. Legality versus Strategic Prudence
a. Bridging the Gap
While it is tempting to go into a lot of historical description, resist this temptation. Even though there may well be other interesting historical facts about your subject, please only tell me what is relevant to making your argument. A certain amount of historical description is necessary, but the focal point of your paper should be your argument.
Also, as you write your paper, take the time to periodically refer back to your original research question or main argument. This helps keep the paper on track and keeps you from going off on tangents that are only marginally related to the original question posed. This is precisely why it is critical that you are very clear and specific about that which you are researching. Indeed, the point of writing a prospectus is to ensure this.
Use internet sources cautiously. Having said that, sources that you get on-line that also exist in hard copy form (e.g. scholarly articles from the library databases, articles from the New York Times you get online, the text of treaties you find on-line) do not “count” as on-line sources. When you cite them you don’t need to cite a URL unless the article/source does not exist in hard copy form. You may not use encyclopedias as sources, including Wikipedia.
The final draft of your paper should be as polished as possible as far as grammar, punctuation, syntax and spelling. Take the time to proofread the final draft, or even have a friend or roommate read it. In addition to the persuasiveness of your argument and overall substantive quality of your paper, I am also interested in the manner in which your paper and arguments are delivered.
Grading Rubric for the Final paper
In addition to following the format and technical guidelines, your final paper should:
1) contain at least 15 types pages of text, without redundant or unnecessary information or unnecessary historical description, and no more than 25 pages
2) have an appropriate title and be organized into sections with sub-headings
3) use appropriate and correct citations (including a bibliography, depending on style)
4) be on a relevant subject with a clear connection to international law / institutions
5) articulate a clear, specific and original research question or main argument of the paper
6) utilize empirical evidence (e.g. secondary sources, treaties, historical sources, etc…) to support a clear, plausible, and ultimately convincing argument
7) utilize a diversity of sources, including both scholarly and journalistic sources, articles and books, and original documents (e.g. treaties, UN documents and resolutions, etc.), and both on-line and physical print sources.
8) be clearly written in articulate prose, free of punctuation, grammatical and spelling errors
90-100% = meets all or almost all of these points
80-89% = meets all but 2 of these points
70-79% = meets all but 3 of these points
60-69% = meets half of the points
59% and below = meets less than half of the points