Mini essays should be a concise response to the question with evidence. They can be considered the “bare bones” of a longer essay. They should follow the general structure of an essay, but have a more condensed form. They must be concise and to the point. For example, they need not have an introduction or a conclusion; if an introduction and/or conclusion are included, each should only be two or three sentences long, and can be part of a longer paragraph. These mini essays should be free from irrelevant material and lengthy explanations, but remain coherent.. They should still be properly referenced but students are not expected to conduct extensive independent research. These mini essays should primarily be based on materials supplied in the reading list but students are free to consult any other relevant sources (and reference them appropriately). They are designed to be an exercise in assessing evidence and arguments in order to arrive at an independent position.
A mini essay is an opportunity to focus on the analysis of evidence and the presentation of arguments. A mini essay is an opportunity to engage and experiment with new ideas.
Tips: Get to the point quickly. Keep everything short and punchy. A well-crafted mini essay can still articulate complex ideas. Take a position and defend it with evidence. Have fun with new ideas. Play with style. Be bold. Due to the 600-word limit, quotations should be used sparingly.
Choose ONE question.
1. What is the significance of changes under Xi Jinping for governance of the party?
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of centralization in decision-making in China?
3. What is the function of people’s congresses?
4. What is the role of non-state actors in the policy process?
5. What are the sources of tension in party-PLA relations and how are they negotiated?
|Did the essay answer the question?|
This refers to the focus and scope of the discussion. For example: Did the essay address all parts of the question? Did it miss some key points? Did it digress from the topic?
|Did the author demonstrate knowledge of the relevant literature?|
This refers to the author’s ability to relate course material and relevant sources to the question. For example: Does the author display a good understanding of the key concepts and texts, and their limitations?
|Is the ar gument convincing?|
This refers to the quality and structure of the argument and the author’s clarity of expression. For example: Is the argument logically sound? Is it original? Is it supported by evidence? Is it expressed clearly?