A few years ago, I started making the parts of the paper research/writing process required – topic, annotated bib, etc. As each part is due, I remind them: “Your paper topic is due by Tuesday. Remember that I can’t accept your paper if you don’t get all the parts turned in. If you don’t get a paper grade, it’s virtually impossible to pass this course, so don’t forget.”
Miraculously, everyone turns everything in now. I do get the occasional begging when someone is a day or two late, but I can live with that. With this policy, they’re scared enough that everything gets turned in within that day or two, not weeks late.
from Wanna Writ on the Chronicle’s fora
Other posts on the topic include:
One question, though: What should I do if they fail to hand in the topic statement? I know several who’d blow that off, marks or no marks. Suggestions?
Take off a letter grade or two because their paper doesn’t match their topic statement. No topic statement, no match. Put it in your syllabus and they should have no recourse. Or am I being too barbaric?