Guidelines for Writing Your Term Papers
I. Your term paper may be on any topic that interests you relevant to Seneca’s tragedies.
It must engage explicitly with the Latin text of one or more tragedies.
II. Be sure to "dig deep" in seeking secondary sources. Go beyond general works to more
specific articles relevant to your subject, using leads given by the bibliographies
of the more general works and by appropriate databases. All works cited should
be listed in a bibliography at the back of your paper.
Two important bibliographical sources for Seneca’s tragedies:
III. Although these secondary works are important, your paper should by no means be a
work of "cut and paste," in which you merely compile what others have said.
Your paper should reflect your own thoughts about the topic you have chosen and
should be built around a thesis of your own creation. Also remember that any
information or ideas you derive from another author, whether or not you quote the
author directly, must be cited in a note.
IV. Pay particular attention to structure. Outline carefully before you begin writing, and
be sure to summarize your arguments in both your introduction and your
V. For the form of notes and bibliography, use MLA format. Be sure that your method of
citation is thorough, clear, and consistent.
VI. I expect that you will have questions as you proceed, so be sure not to put this off
until the last minute, and consult me about any concerns you have. Deborah Katz
subject librarian for Classics, and other reference and
subject librarians, will also be able to offer you good advice, as will the folks at
the Writing Center.
VII. Undergraduate students: your paper must be at least 8 pages long. Graduate
students: your paper must be at least 12 pages long.
VIII. Please do not hand in a paper that reveals sloppy writing and/or inadequate
proofreading. This annoys me immensely. Write carefully, rewrite, and
proofread meticulously from a paper copy (all of us miss more mistakes on the
screen). I also recommend that you have a friend or two read your paper before
you hand it in.
IX. Keep in mind the following deadlines:
March 3rd: Topic statement due. There are no exact requirements for this. Just describe,
in a sentence or more, what you would like to write about, so that we can then
discuss and refine your ideas.
March 26th: Source list due. Again, use your own judgment on how many works and
how much annotation to include. The more you include, though, the more we will
have to work with as we discuss the directions you are going in.
Term Paper Guidelines 2
April 9th: Outline due. Again, the more detailed you can be here, the more we will have
to build on as we refine.
Monday, May 1st, 12:00 noon: final paper due. Please submit your paper both
electronically (as a Word file) and on paper. Students who hand in their papers
late may receive a grade of incomplete in the course, which will have to be
Your papers will be evaluated according to the following criteria:
Category Possible Points
Do you provide evidence that you have done sufficient “digging” in
researching this topic? 20
Have you made good use of the works you have consulted? 10
Do you provide sufficient citation of the sources you have used? 10
Are your references to facts and your citations of primary sources
How much do you go beyond what is in your sources? 40
How persuasive are your arguments? 40
Does your introduction provide sufficient summary and “lead-in” to your
Are there clear and appropriate transitions between your paragraphs? 10
Do all elements of your paper clearly belong? 10
Does your conclusion provide sufficient summary and closure of your
Are your arguments clear and easy to follow? 10
Is your writing grammatically correct, without typos? 10
Are your citations thorough, clear, and consistent? 10
Total points 200