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.
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?