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Essay Topic 2: Have intellectual property rights been extended too far as a result of TRIPS?

Essay Topic 2: Have intellectual property rights been extended too far as a result of TRIPS?


Assessment and Academic skills for POL2001 Major essay


NOTE: There is a table of contents at the left for this web-book, Assessment and assignments. To get a printable version of this book, click here. To get a printable version of just this chapter, click here.


Choose your topic What makes a good essay? Essay writing guides How to submit your essay How your essay will be assessed What skills does this assignment help you develop?


Related chapters: How to write an essay based on proposition-testing An advanced essay- writing approach Resources to help you with your essay You can read the instructions for writing your essay, with all our advice, in a single web- book chapter here.


2000–4000 words       Due Monday 12 October       40% of marks




Your essay is not just the main assignment in POL2001; learning to research and write a good essay is fundamental to a serious university education.


It is also a large and complex project. We expect you to do about 40 hours work for your essay.


Students who think they might need an extension should read the university’s policy here. Some examples: You can see how former students have written their essay in the sub- chapter: Resources for writing your essay.


Choose one of the following topics


Essay topic 1: Has the world benefited from global rules governing trade and commerce?


Essay topic 2: Have intellectual property rights been expanded too far as a result of TRIPS?


Essay topic 3: Should businesses be able to sue governments under ISDS clauses for losses caused when the rules governing their investments are changed?


Essay topic 4: Should governments reduce the restrictions on immigration?


Essay topic 5: Is globalisation a threat to the environment? Essay topic 6: Has globalisation undermined the ability of nation states to manage their economies?


What makes a good essay? Engagement:


A politics essay is a contribution to a debate. To do this well, you need a strong understanding of different viewpoints on the essay topic. You also need to be able to explain some of the key differences between them. Critical thinking and research: Critical thinking isn’t just being sceptical; it needs sound techniques to see if someone’s opinion is justified (including people you are inclined to agree with). One of the easiest of those techniques is proposition-testing. Good writing and referencing. See our short guide to referencing here. You can see these reflected in the marking criteria for your essay. In POL2001, we expect high quality essays from students and mark accordingly. Use your own words Your text must be in your own words. You should not directly copy (or quote) material from your sources unless absolutely essential – and in no case should this be more than 5% of your essay. See the section on Writing in your own words.


Essay writing guides How to write an essay based on proposition-testing: Here is the guide you should use.


Can you ignore this advice and do the essay your way?


Some students come to POL2001 with a well-developed approach to essay writing that has delivered them high marks in the past. If this is you, all we ask is that you make sure that your existing techniques deliver the qualities we expect from your essay.


However many students have been taught that a good essay is built around making an argument. This approach leads many to concentrate on presenting evidence to support an opinion (maybe what the lecturer thinks), rather than doing research to pursue the truth.


Such essays are often shallow and ignore evidence that doesn’t suit their argument. Essays like this will get poor marks, and the student misses the opportunity to grapple with difficult issues and develop their intellectual capacity.


Advanced essay writing We have also supplied a guide to a more advanced essay-writing approach. If done well, it can produce a very sophisticated essay. However it is also much more difficult than doing an essay based on proposition-testing. Only students who Who are prepared to spend a lot of time on their essay (well in excess of 40 hours); and Who got a minimum of 75% for their first assignment …should attempt this approach.


The teaching staff are happy to advise students, and to assist students whichever approach they take.  How to submit your essay Submit your assignment via the link on StudyDesk. The essay frame is after the current week’s frame. Once the essay is due, it will be between Topics 10 and 11. Detailed instructions in the chapter: How to submit your assignments.  Give your assignment the correct filename You must give your assignment a filename that includes Your name The number of the essay question you’re writing on. This is so it can be easily allocated to the marker doing that topic. For instance: griffiths_phil_essay_q3.docx  How your essay will be assessed Quality of your understanding of debates surrounding the essay topic Quality of your research program Quality and depth of your research (eg the quality of your research to test specific arguments) Quality of your presentation of research material Quality of your evaluation of rival arguments in light of the evidence Quality of the overall structure and coherence of your essay Quality of your writing and referencing Here is the marking template for this assignment.


What skills does this assignment help you develop? USQ undertakes to develop ten qualities and skills in everyone who graduates from the university. This assignment aims to help you develop: Skill 1: Ethical research and inquiry (basic level) Skills 3: Academic and professional literacy, and in particular: Disciplinary knowledge (basic level) Research and information literacy (intermediate level) Academic literacy (intermediate level) Critical thinking (advanced level) Referencing (basic level) Skill 4: Communication, and in particular: Expression (intermediate level) Writing (intermediate level)



POL2001: Political and economic ideas, semester 2, 2014, major essay                      


HD (High Distinct’n)

A (Distinction)

B (Credit)

C (Pass)

F (Fail)

FF (Bad fail)

Essay mark           %

General progress in essay writing

This broadly indicates the development of your essay-writing. It is not part of the formal assessment of your essay.

Essay is a logical, coherent and well-informed discussion of some major issues in debatesabout the essay topic. The discussion is linked to wider theo-retical controversies&displays a high level of critical thinking.

Essay shows good understanding of debate on the essay topic. It uses systematic research in order to critically examine rival positions and presents a broadly coherent discussion of them.

Essay summarises rival arguments and/or evidence relevant to the essay topic.There is some critical discussion of these, but the essay is somewhat fragmented.

Essay is largely descriptive. It may summarise opinionson the essay topic and examine at least one, using evidence, but different parts of the essay do not relate logically to each other.

“Cut and paste”: content summarised from sources, and then assembled into an essay.This is the technique used by many university students when they start writing essays.

Content taken directly from sources and presented in a chaotic manner.

Understanding of the essay topic(20%)

Depth of understanding of debates on the essay topic

Presents a thorough summary of key debates surrounding essay topic, including major, rival positions, key argts (& evidence) used to support them, &their criticism of other positions.

Presents a substantial summary of at least two rival positions on essay topic, including key arguments used to support them, and outlines at least one criticism of a rival position.

Presents a reliable summary of two rival positions on essay topic, including some arguments used to support them; OR

Displays understand-ing of a range of arguments relevant to the topic.

Presents a basic and largely correct outline of one position on the essay topic, and some valid points from one other; OR

Essay shows limited understanding of a range of different positions.

Showssome know-ledge of general view-points on the topic; but little knowledge of debate relevant to POL2001; and/or

Some misunderstand-ing of the positions of authors summarised.

Shows minimal know-ledge of different positions on the essay topic; OR

Misunderstands or misrepresents one of them.

Quality of research (40%)

Quality of research plan

Essay outlines, justifies and implements plan of research that engages with the essay topic in depth, eg intensively testing arguments from rival perspectives that get to the heart of debates on the topic.

Includes research to test author’s own opinion.

Essay outlines, explains and at least partly implements a plan of research that stronglyengages with the essay topic, eg by testing a range of important arguments from rival perspectives; OR

Implements a plan of research that strongly engages with the topic.

Evidence of a plan to research essay topic in some depth.

Essay may succeed in testing a fewimportant arguments.

Research may focus on arguments from one standpoint only.

May include a state-ment of research done.

Research is deliberate & clearly organisedbut lacks a strategy to investigate a range of issues in depth.

Essay may be focused on topic only.

It may give survey of opinions on topic.

It may focus on differ-ent aspects of the topic.

Research is mostly rele-vant to essay topic but shows no evidence of being planned (eg it may be fragmented); or

Research design tests one position less critically than others.

Research plan fails to deal with contradictory arguments or evidence.

Research is of minimal relevance to the essay topic as understood in the context of POL2001.

Quantity and quality of research

Presents substantial concrete evidence.

Summarises the conclusions of a large amount of published research.

Most evidence is credible and gets to heart of essay topic (egby testing the validity of propositions central to debate on it).

Evidence is reliably and accurately presented.

Presents a lot of concrete evidence.

Summarises the conclusions of a good amount of published research.

Most evidence is credible & significantly impacts the essay topic (eg validity of propo-sitions being tested).

Most evidence reliably &accurately presented.

Presents a reasonable amount of relevant concrete evidence.

Summarises relevant conclusions from some published research.

Most material is credible and enables some conclusions to be drawn on essay topic.

Reasonably reliable presentation of evi-dence. Inaccuracies do not limit ability to draw valid conclusions.

Presents some credible concrete evidence.

Summarises some published research.

Majority of research is credible and relevant.

Presentation of majority of evidence is reliable, but may be crude. For instance, im-portant qualifications and limitations may be ignored.

Presents only a little credible concrete evidence; and/or

Summarises a little credible research; &/or

Up to half material pre-sented lacks relevance.

Material may be largely opinions or descriptive, rather than evidence.

Presentation of some material is distorted such that conclusions can be drawn not justi-fied by the original.

Minimal or no credible concrete evidence presented; and/or

Summarises minimal or no credible research on essay topic; and/or

Most material used lacks relevance or credibility; and/or

Most material presented is misunderstood; &/or

Significant distortions in presentation of research material.

Quality of presentation of research material

Research presented with great conciseness and clarity.

Clearly and precisely explains the meaning of most research for the essay topic and/or some key argument in relation to it.

All material completely referenced so that the reader is able to easily find it, assess its credi­bil­ity and judge the use made of it in the text.

Research presented concisely and clearly.

Explains the meaning of majority of research for the essay topic and/or some key argu­ment in relation to it.

Referencing sufficient that reader is easily able to find most mater­ial used, assess its credibility and the use made of it in the text.

Research material presented clearly.

Some attempt to explain its meaning or relevance for the essay topic, but this is reason­ably obvious; and/or

Some overstatement of significance of research material for essay topic.

Most research material is referenced such that the reader can either directly locate the material, or assess its likely credibility.

Research material can be easily understood.

For the most part, the reader can work out its relevance for the essay topic; and/or

Significance of research material is overstated.

References enable reader to see general origin of most material used, and hence assess its credibility, but lack details of exact source (eg page numbers) so that the use made of it can be checked; OR

Complete referencing of majority of sources.

Most of research can be understood, but some is poorly presented and confusing.

The meaning and relevance of much ofthe research material is unclear; and/or

Significance of material for the essay topic is exaggerated; &/or

Controversial material is presented without identifying it as such.

Some referenc­ing infor­mation, but not enough to assess credi­bility of much of research mat­er­ial, or use made of it.

Research is very poorly presented, such that it is hard to understand the meaning or relevance of much of the material presented; OR

Wild overstatement of significance for the essay topic of material presented.

Limited or no referencing mean the reader can have no confidence in the credibility of material, and/or the credibility of its presentation.

Quality of evaluation (20%)

Quality of evaluation of rival positions on essay topic in the light of research done, and of materials found in research.

Convincing, thorough& nuancedevaluation of rival positions on the essay topic.

Considerable depth, eg through well-reasonedevalu­at­ion of rival sub-arguments in the light of research.

Identifieslimits to con­clusions that can be drawn from evidence.

Deals crediblywith research suggesting opposite conclusions.

Convincing evalu­ation of rival pos­itions on essay topic in light of research.

Real depth eg through evaluation of some rival sub-arguments with credible reasons.

Serious attempt to iden­tify some limits to conclusions that can be drawn from evidence.

Essay deals with research suggesting opposite conclusions.

Credible conclusion to essay with some depth, eg incorporating evalu­ation of important sub-arguments or issues; or

Evaluation (with cred­­ible reasons) of rival positions on the essay topic in the light of evidence & opposing arguments.

Comments on research suggesting opposite conclusions.

Provides conclusion to overall essay question on basis ofsome credible reasons.

May be simplistic; eg evaluation of some position/sand/or sub-arguments done on basis of mini­mal evidence or reasoning.

Conclusion may not be fully justified by evi­dence or research done.

There is a conclusion to essay, but lacks any depth; eg

·May fail to seriously discuss rival positions

·May fail to discuss sub-arguments

Conclusion may be unjustified given the research done; and/or

Essay expresses an opin­ion on specific issues, but avoids taking a posi­tion on essay question.

No conclusion to overall essay topic.

No attempt to evaluate any argument on the essay topic; and/or

Essay presents research findings that contradict other material in essay without acknowledging or discussing this; &/or

Evaluation of argu­ments relating to the essay topic lacks credibility.


Quality of written essay (20%)

Clear statement and structured development of student’s opinion


Essay’s conclusion developed through a series of subsidiary findings.

Essay is coherently structured as a contribution to debate on the essay topic and on general theories.

Deals credibly with opinions and evidence that disagree with it.

Essay presents a series of clear findings on individual issues (eg evaluations of argu-ments tested).

There is an overall con-clusion that integrates the individual findings, but is not (or not suc-cessfully) linked to the wider context of debate on political theories.

Essay clearly structured to deal with a series of separate issues in turn, and offers a conclusion about majority of them.

Essay offers a final conclusion that essentially repeats those individual findings.

Essay contains a conclusion.

Essays structure may be fragmented.

Essay may offer findings on individual issues, but these are either weakly or not connected to each other and to any overall conclusion.

Essay may have elements of a conclusion, but this is poorly developed.

Essay structure may be fragmented; &/or

Overly descriptive, or reliant on unsubstanti-ated assertions.

Essay is predominantly descriptive, or a series of unsubstantiated assertions.

Essay is chaotically developed, &/or

Predominantly a series of controversial and non-credible assertions.

Clarity, accuracy, intensity and correctness of writing

Highest standard of writing.

Technically it  is clear, accurate, economical and well structured.

It is also evocative, interesting and engaging.

Writing is always clear, easy to read, accurate and economical.

It is free of errors in grammar, word use or punctuation.

Writing is generally clear, easy to read and reasonably accurate.

Some of the text may be

·Overly general; or

·Repetitive; or

·Fail to add meaning.

Limited errors in grammar, word use&/or punctuation.

Writing is easily under-stood, but may be:



·Somewhat general or

·Have sections that fail to add meaning.

May be an overreliance on direct quotations.

Many errors in word use, grammar and/or punctuation.

The meaning of the writing is generally able to be understood, but the writing is convoluted and/or poorly expressed.

It may contain large parts that fail to add meaning.

Not presented in standard prose format.

Large number of errors in grammar, word use&/or punctuation.

There are many points at which the meaning of the text cannot be clearly determined; OR

Large sections of text

·Repetitive; or

·Highly general, or

·Fail to say anything meaningful;and/or

Extensive use of direct quotations to convey facts/concepts.

Quality of referencing

Referencing is complete and correct.

All sources are referenced in text, and in-text references linked to items in a complete List of References.

Fully compliant with Harvard AGPS formatting.

Referencing is largely complete and correct such that most sources can be easily found.

Most sources refer­enced in text & linked to List of References.

A few essential details may be missing (eg a few page numbers).

Compliant with Harvard formatting, with some minor errors of detail.

Referencing sufficiently complete and correct to allow reader to find the bulk of sources with some extra work.

Problems may include:

·Some sources not referenced &/or

·Some reference details missing (eg page nos).

Compliant with Harvard formatting, with a number of errors.

Referencing sufficiently complete and correct to allow reader to find majority of sources with some extra work.

Problems may include:

·Many sources not referenced &/or

·Many essential reference details missing (eg page nos).

Harvard formatting with many errors.

Non-Harvard formatting used well; OR:

Limited referencing of sources; and/or

In-text references &/or list of references sys­tem­atically presented wrongly such that finding publications referred to would involve considerable further work.

In-text references and/or list of references provide too little information for references to be accessed.

Non-Harvard formatting used badly; OR:

No list of references.


Essay is of the required length.


Essay is marginally too long or too short


Essay is up to 20% too long or too short.

Essay is more than 20% too long or too short.

General Comments:



If you would like to discuss your essay and/or this feedback, email Phil Griffiths at


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