DON’T try to write an important or scholarly essay. A well-researched essay that shows off your knowledge of a particular academic subject tells the reader nothing about you. The reader will only suspect that your essay is a recycled term paper.
Topics that are popular or controversial may have a great deal written about them, but how much of it is reliable? In an academic essay, it is important that the sources you use are accurate, thorough, balanced, and verifiable. While you can and should use the skills outlined in the Critical Reading module to evaluate your sources, these skills are not enough to determine whether a source can be considered reliable. If you are using a source to back up your argument in an scholarly essay, it is important that the source be considered reliable not only by you, but also by other academics in general. When choosing your sources look for works that are:
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Students may submit their best scholarly essays for consideration for the Kessler-Roberts Prize, a $200 prize and citation awarded each spring to honor the best scholarly essay written by a graduate student in the MA Program in Literature.