HL Aelianora de Wyntringham and Arcos Arion the Wanderer and others
What follows is a set of guidelines, presented first in overview form and then in more detail, for writing and submitting a scholarly paper to the Kingdom of An Tir's annual Arts and Sciences Competition. If you are considering writing a scholarly paper for this competition please be sure to read and understand the following guidelines, and those presented in the Kingdom Arts and Sciences and Bardic Competitions Competitors' Handbook. Any questions can be addressed to the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister.
The subject of your scholarly paper can be any topic that explores some aspect of pre-1650 life, culture, history, trade, etc. The paper does not have to present and prove an hypothesis. That is, your research and subsequent paper do not have to result in a new understanding of aspects of your topic. You can simply study a topic that is new and interesting to you and present the results of your studies to the judges and your readers.
All submissions are due by the 12th Night before the corresponding Kingdom Arts and Sciences Championship. Send your final draft as a *.doc or *.pdf file to the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Minister. Or, if you do not have computer access, give the Minister 5 copies of your paper by 12th Night. Please keep this due date in mind when writing your paper. Your paper is needed by 12th Night so that your judges have time to read it and evaluate it appropriately.
Learning about your subject and presenting it well are both goals for this type of study and research. Another goal is to produce a paper worthy of publication. SCA periodicals such as The Compleat Anachronist or Tournaments Illuminated are ideal avenues for publication. Other history, archaeology, or sociology publications are also appropriate venues for publication. Do remember, however, that you are not required to publish your paper. Publication is merely encouraged.
The paper should be at least 2200 words in length, 5 or more pages of text without illustrations. The paper can easily be longer. There is no real limit on length, however remember to be concise and precise in your writing. Because you are not producing an actual object to go along with your scholarly paper, you are encouraged to really explore and understand your subject, and to demonstrate that knowledge through your writing.
Illustrations are welcome and useful. Remember it is the word count that determines length for a scholarly paper, not the number of pages produced, so feel free to include as many illustrations as you wish.
Remember, if you are planning to submit your paper for publication, use the format, citation and bibliography styles desired by that publication. Otherwise, the general guidelines below will suffice.
Pick a citation style and stick with it. If you wish to eventually submit your paper to Tournaments Illuminated or The Compleat Anachronist remember to use the citation styles approved by those publications' guidelines. If you are familiar with another style and want to use it, please do. Internal (parenthetical) citations are allowed as long as they follow one of the SCA or academic citation guidelines (see the citation section below for more).
The bibliography for your paper must be complete, and should include references consulted as well as cited. Annotated bibliographies are welcome, although not required. Glossaries of terms are also welcome and encouraged. In general, a particular format and style guide will have instructions for how to set up bibliographies and these will be linked to the citation style explained in that guide. Please follow the guidelines that go along with your selected citation style.
Make sure your references are complete, reliable, and as up to date as possible. Internet references are quite acceptable, but their quality can vary. See below for more detail on references.
When choosing your subject, remember to follow several simple rules to make it concise. An easy way to do
that is to define your subject by a combination of the following limitations:
1. Define by period and/or
2. Define by place/location and/or
3. Define by sub-topic
For example, the subject of horses in the Middle Ages would make a poor topic for a paper because it is not concise enough. To narrow this subject it might be possible to write about horse use in Poland in the 14th and 15th Centuries, and thus limit the subject by time and location. Or, perhaps the subject of saddles, and their changing design in Poland throughout the SCA period interests you. This topic is narrowed by sub-topic (saddles) and location (Poland). Narrowing your topic or subject appropriately will assist you in producing a concise and well written paper.
Papers can explore and prove an original hypothesis as a result of research. However, this type of paper, which proves an original hypothesis, is rare. It is not at all required that you present and prove an hypothesis in your paper. Indeed, some of the best papers are reviews of the current state of knowledge about a particular subject. Remember to keep your topic concise and your writing centered on that topic.
The main goals for this competition are for you to have fun, learn something in detail and spread that knowledge to others. You will produce a viable and educational entry for the Kingdom Arts and Sciences Competition that is ready for publication, if you desire, in the periodical of your choice. Ideal SCA periodicals include The Compleat Anachronist and Tournaments Illuminated.
You do not have to submit your entry for publication. The decision to publish is entirely up to you. However, the quality of work desirable in a Kingdom Arts and Sciences scholarly paper should be at a level which can easily be published.
Please do not let 'publishable quality' frighten you. If you follow the basic style and citation guidelines and edit your work carefully you should be able to produce a publishable quality scholarly paper. The process is not complicated, and you should find it to be fairly easy. Read below to find out more.
The easiest way to meet these stylistic goals is to examine the requirements for publication as given in The Compleat Anachronist or Tournaments Illuminated (both links are to pdf files) and follow them. However, it is recognized that these requirements are not always the same as those acceptable throughout the academic world. Therefore, if you are trained in and have a style guide which you prefer to follow, you are welcome to do so.
If you decide against following a particular publishing style guide or wish to use only the citation and bibliography styles of that guideline the following format parameters are acceptable for your paper.
Spacing: The paper does not have to be double spaced. However, double spacing, or 1.5 spacing, is preferred for legibility. If your paper is long, and you wish to save on printing costs, single spacing is acceptable.
Margins: 1 inch for all margins (top, bottom and sides).
Pagination/Page Numbering: All pages should be numbered, except your title page. Numbers can be placed at the top right, bottom center or bottom right of the page. If you print on both sides of the paper, place the numbers accordingly.
Font: The font should be no smaller than 10 point. The font should also be a common, legible font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, Courier, Helvetica, etc. Please no fancy 'medieval' or 'calligraphy' fonts.
Illustrations: Please refer to your illustrations within the text as Figure 1, Illustration 1, Table 1, etc. Number them consecutively.
Citations can be one of the most problematic aspects of writing a paper, although they needn't be if you keep to a basic citation style guideline. Accurate citations, correctly placed in the text of your paper, are very important to the evaluation of your knowledge of your subject, the accuracy of your statements and an understanding of your paper.
There are different methods of constructing citations, and the style guides for various academic publications go into great detail about citations. Consult one of them and follow it carefully to construct the citations for your paper. Please remember to follow the citation guidelines for The Compleat Anachronist or Tournaments Illuminated if you are hoping to submit your paper to either of these SCA publications.
Most of the style guides listed below include formatting guidelines as well as citation and bibliography/reference guidelines. You may use the formatting guidelines given above in lieu of those discussed in the style guides listed below. Please note that the main style and citation guidelines, APA, MLA and Chicago-Turabian are discussed at several of the sites linked in the list below.
Remember to use good solid references. Examine your references for quality and do research broadly, but write narrowly. This general rule will serve you well. Know more about your subject than you put in your paper.
Internet references are allowed and should be of stellar quality. Generally, academic sites are the most reliable, as are library sites. Wikipedia, while very popular, should only be used as a starting point. It is not consistently reliable as a reference. Websites set up by members of the SCA may, or may not be, good references. Please do more research and consult references cited on these websites to determine their reliability.
Books and articles are generally good references, especially if they are current publications. A book or article published 50 or more years ago probably contains a lot of information that has since been superceded by new research. Older books can be used as starting points, and may contain information not available in newer books. Just remember to be familiar with current research on your subject.
The citation and style guidelines listed above all have corresponding bibliography and reference styles. Use these if you are planning upon publishing your paper or if you have a preferred style guide. If not, then use one of the basic bibliography styles given in the guidelines for The Compleat Anachronist or Tournaments Illuminated.