Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Final Paper Evaluations


Your research on this paper came to a slow start and you definitely picked up quickly and submitted an outline of reasonable quality which resulted in a solid structure of this paper. The paper, as a result, does sound coherent, although the same points of inquiry are filled with information of different types and dealing with different issues, which makes the narrative very confusing. If read separately, each country analysis sounds adequate, however, if compared, there is little that can be found in terms of coherence there. I appreciate the effort you made to create some type of footnotes, although they don’t conform to any known citation standard and, therefore, don’t count toward your grade. Overall, this is not a bad effort at all, although your command of English does need significant improvement.


I believe I had commented several times on your paper prior to its submission and every time I did so I stressed the importance of following the template which had developed in class very strongly. Your final product doesn’t follow the template in question and, therefore, merely falls below the level of acceptable quality of research I set for this class.


I am glad you heeded to my numerous comments which significant enhanced the quality of your paper. Generally, it is a very solid effort, although certain aspects of it could have been done better (for instance, when you talk about the definition of ‘torture’ at the very beginning, you could have used the definition of the CAT or another convention which contains an article on torture). I was also pleased to see that you had understood the template as a whole and were able to create components which interact successfully within it. Good job on the footnotes too!


Shortcuts get you nowhere. After I had spent my own time commenting on 7 versions (I have them all documented in my database, if you are interested) of your outline, you decided to change your topic without consulting me prior to doing so. A result of that is the simple fact that you ended up selecting an issue which is not categorized as a human right for the reason that its violations are not committed by government but by individual persons, thus, making ‘domestic violence’ a simple matter of criminal law (usually, battery) and not a matter of human rights. I, therefore, won’t be able to count this as a submission to satisfy the main requirement of the course as your submission has little – if anything at all – to do with the title of the course – ‘human rights’.


I am glad you were able to finish your paper, although with a different topic. You were luckier – or better researched – then Sophorne as you changed your topic to something that is also a perfectly acceptable human rights topic. I liked the hard math you did in the analysis section and what you were intending to do with the select points of inquiry. I, however, felt that somewhere towards the end of the paper you ran out time or energy to continue writing and see the arguments you had created to their logical end. This, unfortunately, affects the quality of the analysis section as well as the conclusion of this paper.


Your paper follows the template, at least for the most part. One of the issues that I see with it is that the points of inquiry you had created are not the same – but somewhat similar – for each of the 3 countries. This backfires later in the paper when you get to analysis which come out somewhat lopsided as it is naturally difficult to compare different points of inquiry to one another. Another issue of imbalance is evident in the sections dedicated to Cambodia which are inexorably far larger than the comparable sections on India and China. I understand that this is due to the fact that there is simply more information available on Cambodia because this paper was written in Cambodia, but this doesn’t explain the significant lack of research in some areas. Too much copy-and-paste, which should be completely absence from academic papers. You are saved here, however, by some of your colleagues who set a much lower end of the curve which helps you retain your grade. Other than these, it is a solid and worthwhile effort.

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