GOVT 2306 Texas Policy Paper– Overview and Requirements This document presents the

GOVT 2306 Texas Policy Paper– Overview and Requirements

This document presents the instructions, guidelines and requirements for each component. Refer to it often. If you have ANY questions, ASK. If something does not make sense, ask. Email me when you need guidance – it is synched to my iPhone so I try to respond immediately. At first glance this project may seem daunting, it really isn’t, I just like giving so many details that it makes it super easy for everyone (I usually end up scaring you instead). Having said that, I do grade on very specific criteria. The main reason people don’t do well on my project is they leave something out, so PLEASE make sure you are clear on each of the required elements – there are not that many.

There are two components of the Semester policy project

Project Component:

Percent of Final Course Grade

Due Date:

1) Project Proposal

5%

October 30

3) Argumentative Essay

20%

November 28 (late until December 1)

Part#1 – Topic Proposal –

When selecting a topic for your project, it is best to select a yes/no or pro/con focused issue. So rather than selecting a broad topic like “gun rights” focus your topic on a specific aspect of that issue, for example,

“The Texas state government should expand open carry laws.” [Original topics not on this list are strongly encouraged – MUST be focused on Texas politics, Texas, laws, and Texas actions]

Some of the topics you might choose include, but are not limited to: [Original topics not on this list are strongly encouraged]

Should Texas repeal campus carry?

Should Texas repeal or expand open carry?

Should Texas legalize the medical use of marijuana?

Should Texas pass more laws to restrict abortions?

Should Texas end Fracking?

Should Texas enact a higher statewide minimum wage?

Should the death penalty be ended in the state of Texas?

Should Texas allow election day registration?

Should Texas enact a state income Tax?

Should Texas fund full day Pre-K programs?

Your proposal should include the following information: 

A one page (300 words) overview of the issue you have selected (50%)

A bibliography of five (5) books or articles you would be able to consult and read about the issue.  (25%)

Five (5) precise Internet citations/addresses which contain information about the issue you have selected. (25%)

Part #2 Final Paper

Project Overview

Now that you have begun researching your topic, you will need to formulate an argument based on evidence in defense of this position and respond to the objections to this position. Additionally you should explain how this position impacts the issues of personal responsibility and social responsibility. Additionally you will need to include sections that address several political and governmental factors such as interest groups, public opinion and political parties.

Format Requirements:

Correct spelling and proper grammar

Use MLA or APA style for formatting and referencing – You must provide in-text citations and a bibliography

Submit as WORD or PDF ONLY – if using a MAC choose file, EXPORT as word or pdf

Must be a MINNIMUM of 1000 words (1250-1500 is the norm)- yes you can go over but never under. [For reference – 250 word is approximately 1 page double spaced] EXCLUDING Bibliography

Minimum of 5 reliable sources

Word Count – Must be under your name and class information – do not include Bibliography in word count

Required Elements:

Listed below is the suggested format and the approximate length of each section. I am a strong believer in Sub headings in a paper and although not required I highly suggest them (it makes sure you do not forget a required element).

BACKGROUND (This section should be approximately ½ – ¾ page in length)

Here you should introduce your topic giving some general background information and statistics leading to a clear thesis statement which states your position on the issue.

KEY ARGUMENTS (This section should be approximately 2 pages in length)

You should have at least 1 paragraph (½ page) on each of 3 key arguments. Each argument should be clearly stated with at least 2 clear pieces of support for that argument. Support should be in the form of a documented quote, fact, or statistic from an academic source or a primary governmental or organizational website)

PUBLIC OPINION (This section should be approximately ½ – ¾ page in length)

What is public’s view on this issue? Has this view changed in the last few years? Do some groups have a particular viewpoint (e.g. women, minorities, etc…)? You must provide the publics overall view on your issue as well as at least 2 subgroups. Be sure you provide specific evidence from actual polling data, be sure the polling data is current (within last 5 years).

INTEREST GROUP POSITIONS (This section should be approximately ½ – ¾ page in length)

Identify 2 organized interest groups (not just groups) that are for your stance on your topic. Profile the group. How are they working to affect change on this issue in particular? Provide specific evidence in the form of a quote, statistic or graph from their organizations website or information documents.

POLITICAL PARTIES (This section should be approximately ½ – ¾ page in length)

Summarize the position of the political party that aligns with your stand on the issue. Provide specific evidence that they align with your positions such as a quote from a party official, or a statement from the official party website. Multiple sources are always better than just one piece of information. Has the party stance changed over time? Are they doing anything about this issue currently or is this only something they have been concerned with in the past?

SOCIAL AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

You must include information on how your position relates to social and personal responsibility – This information is usually best incorporated into the Background or conclusion section. Not sure what is meant by this section? Review the Unit 1 discussion materials and prompt.

CONCLUSION (This section should be approximately ½)

Summarize the information provided to your reader into a key takeaway message. Try to go beyond just restating your thesis statement. How can you call your reader to action, motivate them to do something to act on changing the issue.

BIBLIOGRAPY

List of all sources used in creating your essay

Table 1: Grading Criteria Policy Paper

Criteria

Value

Introduction, Background, Thesis

10%

Social and Personal Responsibility

10%

Argument 1

10%

Argument 2

10%

Argument 3

10%

Public Opinion

10%

Interest Groups

10%

Political Party

5%

Conclusion

5%

Organization, Grammar and Mechanics

10%

Citations (In- Text and Works Cited Section)

10%

Frequently Asked Questions   

Where can I get a start finding books and Internet sites?  You can access book and article information from the COM library website at www.com.edu/library.  Also check out the vast amount of information at www.publicagenda.org. and www.procon.org

What other resources are helpful? Check out the web links in the Unit 2 “For Further Information” area – There are links there to help you with the interest groups, public opinion and political parties section.

What should my sources be like?  Use mostly scholarly sources, i.e., books and articles in scholarly journals, not merely newspapers and newsmagazines.  Feel free to “skim” a big book for information that is useful to your project.

How do I decide whether to cite something?  A paper should be entirely your own work.  If you get information or wording, or even an idea, from someone else, cite them.  If in doubt, cite.  Don’t include any item in the bibliography which you do not mention or reference in the paper itself.  

Should I use tables, charts or graphs?  Definitely.  Use at least one table, chart or graph, but don’t put any chart, table or graph in the paper which you don’t discuss in the paper.

Does it matter if I cite a reference like this (Brown 1996:165) or in a footnote?  No; be consistent and follow either APA or MLA style guides.

Do grammar and style count?  Yes.  Ten percent of the grade comes from grammar, spelling, style, and and organization

How much time should I spend researching vs. writing?  Try to divide your efforts 50-50.  Don’t do so much researching that you don’t have time to write well.

Listed below are several websites to assist you in choosing a topic. Please note that many of these sites are NOT objective. While they may help you find a good issue, you must do the research to ensure that your paper is presented in an objective fashion.

http://www.texastribune.org/

http://www.texaspolicy.com/issues/legislators-guide

http://www.tlc.state.tx.us/policy.htm

http://texasconservativeroundtable.com/policy-issues

I have also provided a number of links in blackboard (Under Weblinks on the main menu) to assist you with researching and developing your topic.  Additionally, I suggest you consult the “Academic Search Complete” Database on the College library site under “Databases.” 

What, then, should the final paper look like?  It should contain a cover page, then the text of the paper double spaced, a page or more of references, The total should be at least 5 pages but no more than 10  pages (not counting the cover page with the title and your name on it nor the reference page)