DD 121 Part One TMA No. 01 First Semester 2008/2009 Al Humaid Ibrahim Abdul Aziz Section I The main skills, which help you to become a self-learner
Essay writing is a special skill that is acquired through practice by having sound knowledge of the subject matter to produce solid content, and adopting the techniques of writing essays. Language skills are critical and this includes use of good vocabulary, and correct spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Proofreading can also help to make sure proper care has been taken in this regard. The right structure of the essay is also important so that the reader can easily follow through with what the writer is trying to say.
Self study techniques can assist in developing good essay writing skills. This means learning to be aware of how to structure the essay, which style of writing to use, how to reference the sources, how to engage the reader in an absorbing discussion, and of course by avoiding plagiarism.
2. How to structure a TMA. Rules on plagiarism and how to avoid it
The ‘Rules of TMA Writing’ stipulate in section 2.2.3 to organize the “material into a cohesive structure’. We must assume that the reader is unfamiliar with the contents, so needs to be taken through the essay from the beginning to the end with one idea contained in each paragraph. This also means it is very important to make points clear and that the reader is guided through each stage in the arguments. It is normal practice to structure the main body of the essay by preceding it with a good gentle introduction to acquaint the reader with what is to be expected, and followed by a solid conclusion that briefly summarises and articulately encapsulates the main thrust of the essay. The main body is the most important section. It should develop the key points citing relevant evidence where necessary. The title should reflect the nature of the essay and at the end there should be a references section to acknowledge any external sources used in the construction of the essay. The hierarchical order would therefore be as follows: title, introduction, main section, conclusion, and references.
It is extremely important to acknowledge the sources used. It is morally and ethically wrong to try and “pass off someone else’s words as your own words”. This corrupt practice is called ‘plagiarism’. It is permissible to quote from an academic source to support your own essay, any arguments and examples, but full details must then be given using quotation marks as to where the supporting information was acquired.
Section II
A. The normative and legal definitions of crime, and what is legal and what is illegal.
A definition of crime depends on the context of which framework it is perceived from. An act that is considered a crime from one perspective may not necessarily be considered a crime from another. For example, there is the law of the land in which crimes are acts that break it. Then there is the law of God, which only the irreligious fail to acknowledge that it has a higher authority than any man made law. So, “Potentially, criminal acts can be judged against formal moral systems, like religious beliefs.” However, the problem with laws derived from the Holy Scriptures is that for a start our creator neither communicates directly nor continuously, and there are different religions, so different texts, which also deal with many other things besides laws. Even in regard to a particular scripture there are typically varying interpretations amongst people according to different schools of thought.
As for the law of the land, there is no single domain of human habitation with a single law. Different countries have different legal systems, and there are differences as to which acts are considered criminal. Furthermore, man-made law changes over time too. These can be due to social, political and technological changes. Therefore, “There is no simple, fixed, unassailable, objective definition of crime.” In addition to this, people have their own perceptions of what is morally right and wrong and what kinds of behaviour constitute crimes to define what is legal and what is illegal. The basis of these normative perspectives is rooted in culture and tradition, and there can often be a conflict between what is acceptable to a certain society according to their conventions and long held values, and the perception of crime as legally enforced upon that society by the government. This can lead to more than one meaning of crime. And, “the two meanings of crime can not be reconciled because a great deal of legally-defined crime is not considered to be normatively-defined crime.” Moreover, “some legally defined crimes might not be acceptable when judged against the norms, codes and conventions of socially-acceptable behaviour.”
B. A judgment of the present rate crime, and facilities and mechanisms present in the community that either minimize or generate crime.
Social factors and changes in society and legislation determine and influence what constitutes crime, and the actual and perceived rates of crime. The factors of culture and technology are significant in this regard. Scientific and technological developments progress over time and naturally too, culture and traditions also change. These factors bring about corresponding changes in society and as far as the government is concerned, it becomes imperative for the legal system to adapt to the changing times too. For example, if we look at the changes in society due to the inventions of the mobile phone, computer laptops, and ipods for instance, whilst these have brought about several technological benefits they have also created new opportunities for thieves. “With more consumer goods and other commodities on public display than ever before, there are more opportunities for criminal acts.”
Changes for instance in the types of work that are now available and the way we do work, and that people can more easily obtain information and move about (increase in social mobility) have meant that new situations exists that never did before in our society. This is largely due to scientific and technological developments. The role of the Internet in this is a prime example. This has resulted in the defining of new crimes that also never existed before. Thus, “New crimes have been created by changes in the law and changes in technology.”
Looking at another aspect of the technological changes together with the changes that have brought about a greater awareness of rights and opportunities and information in general, we could also argue that the rate of crime may very well be the same as it ever was, even declined perhaps, but that now more crime is reported, and more criminals are caught than before. “A large increase in the number of police officers, the increasing availability of phones making reporting easier, and a greater willingness to call on the police when necessary” has all raised the perceived number of crimes. This is called the ‘paradox’ of crime. On the other hand, despite the relative ease of reporting crime as compared to the past, when 17,000 people were questioned in a study, it was found that only half of people report offences to the police. This means that “the true scale of crime is far higher than official statistics show” (Sunday Times, Feb. 16, 2003). A BBC report also found that reported crime was down 9% in the year 2007-08 even though “six out of ten people think crime is rising nationally”. The report identifies that “police everywhere have far more sophisticated methods to solve crimes while homes and cars are far more secure than they were in the 1980s.” (BBC News, Jul. 17, 2008)
References and Bibliography
BBC News, Jul. 17, 2008. Analysis: Crime figures down. Reported by Dominic Casciani. Retrieved 20 Nov. 2008 from http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7511758.stm.
Introductory Workbook Sections 1, Introduction, (pp. 5-26) and pp. (35-44), and Section 8. Assessing your work, pp. (45-56).
Student Guide.
Sunday Times, Feb. 16, 2003. Silent crime wave affects one in three. Reported by Robert Winnett. Retrieved 20 Nov. 2008 from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article878778.ece.
Tales of fear and fascination: the crime problem in the contemporary UK. Section 1. What is crime (pp. 5-7) and Section 3. Beyond Common Sense (pp. 15-21).