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LG 218 Sociolinguistics


Prof. Peter L. Patrick

Marking and Assessment


On this page:


The Assignment Titles are located here.


The Rules

Please see the Department Undergraduate Students' Handbook, which contains important information on how we judge your work, assignment writing skills, guidelines for citing references and avoiding plagiarism, coursework requirements, the course deadline policy, coping with exams, and cheating. I assume you are completely familiar with this material; unless noted below, these rules apply.

·       See especially the “Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria” section, pp93-96…

·       …and the section entitled "Referencing and Good Academic Practice", pp125-129

It is ESSENTIAL TO SUBMIT ALL COURSEWORK using the online FASER system. If you have any questions about FASER, please see the UG Handbook or ask the Undergraduate Administrator in the Main Linguistics Office.

·       The arrival dates of assignments are logged.

·       LATE COURSEWORK WILL RECEIVE A MARK OF ZERO under the deadline policy. Details are in the Handbook, p117.

·       Department admin staff are responsible for applying the late policy in a uniform manner. Please don’t ask me to work under different rules – I may be sympathetic, but it is not up to me.

·       For information on online submission of coursework (FASER), please see the UG Student Handbook.

·       It helps me if you submit a coversheet on FASER as part of your assignment. It’s easier to use the Dept. standard coversheet (located here) than to make sure you give all the needed information yourself. It also helps if you submit your assignment as a Word file (.docx or .doc) or PDF file (.pdf) – those are the only knids FASER will let me give you comments on, online. If you use those formats, I can give you feedback a bit quicker. Thanks!


Methods of Assessment

·       This course will be assessed through one piece of coursework, due on Thursday of week 16, ie 18 January 2018, at the start of Term 2. You are encouraged to submit the essay before that date - if you start early, you should be able to finish it before then. (If you start late, or during the holidays, you may not be able to get hold of the readings as easily...)

·       If you submit your work on time, you will receive feedback no later than Thurs of week 19, ie 15 February 2018.

·       I have written a page of advice on writing essay assignments in sociolinguistics. Please note that it is directed at writing essays for ME, and other staff may not agree with all of it! Still, you may find it useful. You can access this and other useful advice on essays and exams from this Dept. webpage:

·       Please also make yourself familiar with the Dept.'s Guide to Writing Essays, Dissertations & Theses, available at

·       There is a 2-hour final exam at years' end, containing a selection of questions, from which you will answer one essay question or exercise. There will be both an essay and a data-problem on the final. There will be a choice of at least 3 questions in the exam. I’ll discuss the exam in Term 3 during a revision class.

·       Exam marks are averaged with coursework marks; each contributes 50% to an overall final mark. (So, 50% coursework, 50% exam.)

·       It is my policy NOT to make previous years’ exam papers available to students. You will not find them on ORB. My view is that you will prepare better by participating in class, asking questions, and studying the materials assigned this year, than by taking previous exam questions as your guide for preparation.

·       If you are registered as a –ZA student, ie generally if you are here on a one-term study exchange and returning home by Christmas, you have EARLIER DEADLINES. You must submit your coursework AND complete your final exam by the final day of term. The Dept. will provide with specific dates soon, but please be aware you have to complete all of your work EARLIER than other students.


Criteria for assessment

·       Since your assignment is to review the literature, your work will be assessed in relation to the following specific criteria for this module, in addition to the general criteria listed in the current UG Handbook (please be sure you are familiar with those too!). The Dept. ones are the “Learning Outcomes and Assessment Criteria” section, pp93-96of the UG Handbook.

My own criteria for this module are below. You must be able to:

·       Summarize: Demonstrate your understanding by clear, concise summary of assigned research. Be able to accurately summarize argumentation, facts (both in detail, and at a general level), crucial concepts, and theoretical claims, and explain or paraphrase technical terminology.

·       Analyze: Make and explain distinctions; identify similarities and contrasts; create and take readers through an argument, step by logical step; and generally, use appropriate terminology precisely in analysis of the relevant data.

·       Evaluate: Identify and assess the underlying methods, assumptions and goals of a piece of research; appraise the strength or weakness of a position, a theory, or a set of data. Are the conclusions supported by the arguments? the data? Are the findings significant, and why? When you make evaluative claims, you must be able to cite specific evidence to back them up.

·       Present your work effectively: Communicate your (and others’) ideas with clarity, in a logical and transparent structure, in a coherent fashion and appropriate style, drawing on technical terminology as needed. You must be lucid, precise, and original, while demonstrating a sense of balance among the parts, controlling length to meet requirements, and attributing ideas to their authors through good citation and reference practice.


Length Limits

Part of the skill of writing an assignment is learning to say what you want to say within the word limit you are given.

·       The required length of the assignment should be 3000 words, plus or minus 10% (ie, +/- 300 words) - not counting References or instructions; do not repeat the assignment instructions.

·       You will be penalised if you write too much (see the ever-changing Dept. policy on length limits in the UG Handbook p116), i.e. if you write more than 3300 words. If you write too little, i.e. less than 2700 words, it is likely that you will fail to cover the topic in sufficient depth or detail and you will be marked accordingly.

·       Please indicate the length of your assignment at the end of the main text (the number of words). Use WordCount to get this.


Proper Referencing

You should remember at all times to refer explicitly to the work of any scholar whose work you make use of, citing the surname, year of publication and page number of any references.

·       Whenever you use someone else's words, they must be enclosed in quotation marks and clearly identified.

·       You will be penalised for poorly structured work and inadequate bibliographical referencing.

·       This may seem picky or pointless to you, but it’s considered an important skill in academia – i.e., we require you to learn it! All you have to do is follow a set of guidelines carefully and be consistent.

·       The Dept. Undergraduate Handbook contains just such a set of guidelines. Please read it before writing your essay, and leave an hour to check every assignment against this list.

·       You also have to include web citations for any online materials you refer to. See the UG Handbook. You can see my own recommendations here:


Plagiarism and Cheating

Written work which is inadequately referenced, which quotes without attribution, or which copies from someone else's work but presents material as if it were your own, falls under the heading of plagiarism.

·       This includes self-plagiarism. You can’t turn in the same work twice.

·       This can be not only poor coursework, subject to a grade reduction, but also an academic offence, subject to penalties up to and including expulsion.

·       Most occurrences of plagiarism occur unintentionally, either because students are unclear about what it really means, or as a consequence of poor study skills.

·       So, please make sure you understand and obey the rules. You can find them online at:

·       Make yourself familiar with guidance on how to avoid plagiarism. Please see Dr. Vineeta Chand’s slides on the subject here.

·       You can also see Prof. Andrew Radford's discussion of cheating/plagiarism here. (They may look a little dated, but they are still helpful – unfortunately plagiarism has not evolved since 2002…) Both of these are specifically aimed at Lang & Ling students, written by our staff. These sources contain good discussion and detailed examples of how to reference properly. They may be more helpful than the Uni regulations, so start here (but remember you are responsible for knowing the regulations too!).

·       There is also general University guidance and help available on the topic here. Please also check, once again, the UG Handbook!

·       You may think this is a lot of time to spend on the topic, but if you have any doubts whether you’re crystal clear on it, please do look over the materials (first) or come talk to me (after you’ve looked at them). If for whatever reason you end up being suspected of plagiarism, both you and I will have to spend a lot more time on the incident than the 2-3 hours necessary to go through all this material carefully – and once you’ve mastered it, it’ll stay with you for the rest of your academic career.

·       Nobody wants to take part in a disciplinary proceeding – not you, not me. But plagiarism is considered to be such a serious offence that the procedures for it are very strict. Do not give any reason in your work for me to even have to ask the question, “Could this student possibly be plagiarising?”!

·       I will be happy to discuss these matters with you in office hours, preferably before you complete your assignment. We’ll also deal with the basics during class in the second half of term, well before assignments are due.


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Page last updated on 09 October 2017