China’s export of labour: from the 19th to the 21st centuries
The point of any essay is not simply to reiterate what one finds in source material on a particular topic. An essay should present one’s interpretation/understanding of a topic, or an aspect of a
topic, and to articulate that as precisely and coherently as possible. Thus, an academic essay is not simply a list of facts, no matter how good the facts are. Therefore, the essay should have a
thesis, or area of focus. This does not necessarily take the form of an argument per se, but it does have to let the reader know what you are trying to get across in the paper.
Of course textbooks, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc., may be used, but they should be used sparingly—a paper that relies heavily on such sources will inevitably be very general in nature as such
reference material does not go into the detail needed for an effective paper.
Since the textbook, Ebrey, Patricia East Asia: A Cultural, Social and Political History Third Edition (Belmont, Ca.: Wadsworth, 2014) is required for this course, it is expected that you will use
this book to give you the historical background you may need to put the material in the essay into a proper historical context. Inaccuracies in dates, historical events, etc., will obviously
undermine the credibility of your essay, so use your textbook as a reference guide.
Websites should be used with discretion. They can provide the most up to date data (as in the case of government statistics, demographic data, etc.) but, generally speaking, they are made for a
broad readership, and therefore do not provide the detailed analysis necessary for an academic paper. Moreover, it is often difficult to assess the credibility of websites as authorship is usually
not provided. Finally, websites are unstable. Just because you found something on a website yesterday doesn’t mean that it will be there today— it may be revised, or the website may shut down.
Whatever the case, if any of these issues arise the integrity of your essay is put into question, and that could have an effect on your mark. Remember, the onus is on the writer to use credible and
authoritative resources. So be forewarned.
Papers using websites must include a printed copy of the passages from the websites that are cited in the essay. NOTE: this does not apply to journal articles that are provided online as, properly
speaking, these are not really “websites.”