Each student is expected to prepare a term paper on some topic related to Northwest Pacific archaeology.
Term papers are due during the last week of classes and should be no more than 4000 words,
(approximately 16 typed, double-spaced, pages). Well written shorter papers (12 to 14 pages)
Term papers will be evaluated on the basis of: 1) organization, 2) quality of research, 3) quality
of writing, and 4) strength of discussion/argument.
Organization: A poorly organized paper is difficult to read and annoying to mark. Your term
paper should be well organized and include a clear and concise introduction. This should be
followed by the ‘body’ of the paper (information and discussion), and a conclusion. Information
provided in the body of the paper should be presented in a logical order. You are encouraged to
use sub-headings to help organize your written work. Figures and tables should be numbered and
have concise captions.
Quality of Research: Your term paper should present an up-to-date, and thorough review of
archaeological research in the subject area of your choosing. In gathering information be sure to
use primary source material whenever possible. This should include recent articles from
academic journals (e.g., Journal of Northwest Anthropology, American Antiquity, Journal of
Archaeological Science, Journal of Canadian Archaeology, Journal of Field Archaeology,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), Journal of Anthropological
Archaeology, etc…) as well as books (research monographs and edited volumes), written, edited,
and published by reputable experts. Secondary sources such as textbooks, magazines,
newspapers, and websites should not be relied upon to provide accurate and up-to-date
information, but may be good starting points for tracking down recent original research.
Quality of Writing: Most papers could be improved by doing a few simple things.
1. Write in complete sentences, organized into paragraphs. Each paragraph should have a theme.
The sentences in the paragraph should be relevant to the theme. Group paragraphs under
2. Check for spelling errors; use the spell checker on your word processor.
3. Read over your work. Does it make sense? Is the meaning clear? Does it sound strange if you
read it aloud?
4. Avoid words that have ambiguous meanings. Avoid jargon, slang, and colloquialisms. Use a
dictionary or thesaurus to assist you in choosing the most appropriate words.
Strength of discussion/argument: The most important component of your term paper (or any
essay for that matter) is the presentation of your own ideas. Remember that the instructor or
marker is looking for clearly expressed, original thoughts, opinions, and arguments. Make sure
that your ideas are well developed and clearly stated. Your interpretations and arguments should
be logical and well supported by the observations presented in the body of your paper.
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