Political Science 150 Paper Assignment: The paper is an analysis of why

Political Science 150 Paper Assignment: The paper is an analysis of why a policy proposal failed or succeeded in becoming government law or policy. The topic may be any single proposal made at the federal or Californian level of our political system. The paper should explain the nature of the proposal, which groups supported or opposed it, describe the process through which it went in either its adoption, amendment or rejection and, most importantly, offer your analysis as to the causes of the final outcome. The paper must also explain whether you believe the process discussed better fits the pluralist or elite theory model of American politics. While a general topic might be an issue such as desegregation, free speech or affirmative action, you should try to pick a more specific issue or policy within that general area. For example, school busing, a constitutional amendment banning flag burning or Proposition 209.

Essentially, every paper should make an argument explaining why you think the policy proposal you have chosen failed or succeeded in being adopted by our political system. Some discussion of the actual merits of the proposal is unavoidable, but the paper should concentrate on the policy process and not the policy itself. For example, a discussion of Proposition 209 would not dwell on the merits or problems of the proposed legislation, but on the political struggle surrounding the proposal. Your explanation for the success or failure of the adoption of the proposal in question is the central argument of the paper and should be reflected in your introductory thesis. Where topics involve court cases it is not enough to simply record and analyze the judges’ decisions. You must also discuss such issues as who brought the case to court, their political motives, how did they frame their legal challenge and so on. Your paper will also be evaluated on the basis of the criteria described in the assignment rubric below. It must have a clear, identifiable thesis statement stated at the start of the paper and offer strong supporting evidence. It must also have organizational clarity so that the thoughts presented flow in a clear, orderly manner. The material presented should be relevant to the course, to the topic of the paper and to the point you are trying to make. Papers often suffer by losing focus. The style of presentation, including neatness, correct grammar, good spelling, etc., is an important component of the paper’s grade as well.

Papers should be typed, double-spaced with one inch margins and 8-10 pages in length. Sources must be cited. Failure to provide citations will result in a substantial penalty. The source of any quotation, fact or idea that you include in your paper must be cited using the Chicago-Style Author-Date format. This link Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide (chicagomanualofstyle.org) will take you to the Chicago-Style Citation Quick Guide.  The full guide is also available on the Library web site (http://csus.libguides.com/chicagostyle). There must be no less than eight sources. For every Internet only source cited there must be at least one non-internet only source. An Internet only source is defined as a source that can not be obtained anywhere, but on-line. For example, citing an on-line New York Times article would not count as an Internet only source since such an article could be obtained without accessing the Internet. Texts for the course are acceptable sources. In addition, a copy of any material cited must be turned in along with the paper. Failure to submit copies of cited material will lead to a deduction from the paper’s grade. Students must submit by e-mail their thesis statement for the paper on November 4th. If the thesis statement is late 2 points will be deducted from the grade of the paper. If no thesis statement is submitted 4 points will be deducted from the paper’s grade. Papers are due on December 2nd. They must be turned in both to the instructor as a hard copy and submitted electronically to TurnItIn through the class Canvas site. Papers are not considered to have been turned in until a hard copy has been received. Do not attempt to submit any draft of the paper to TurnItIn prior to submitting your final, completed paper. The copies of cited sources need only be turned in as hard copy, not electronically. Grades for late papers will be reduced by 4 points (out of 100) per nonholiday weekday past the presentation date. The last date for submitting a late paper is December 12th. All students must retain a copy of the paper until a grade has been received. Feel free to see me if you have any questions either about the assignment itself or about a particular topic.




Needs Work



Clear, detailed and specific analysis of issue stated at the beginning of the paper.

Clear analysis of issue.

Vague, unfocused analysis presented late in the paper

No thesis statement.

Elite-Pluralist Review:

Explains both outlooks and makes a clear, detailed argument for one.

Makes a clear argument for one point of view.

States which outlook is relevant.

No opinion offered.

Analysis and supporting evidence:

Interesting and novel analysis supported by a comprehensive review of accurate and relevant facts and observations.

Solid analysis supported by accurate facts. Covers most but not all relevant issues.

Weak analysis. Some facts reviewed are only vaguely relevant. Some errors.

Few ideas, little attention to supporting facts.

Structure and Organization:

Paper is focused on supporting thesis, paragraphs are well developed and ideas linked with effective transitions

Competent organization. Material generally relevant to thesis. Adequate use of paragraphs if limited in transitions.

Limited organization. Significant amounts of irrelevant material. Paragraphs tend to stand alone. Paragraphs tend to be too long in length.

Little organization, Most of the material is irrelevant. Poor use of paragraph structure, rambling.

Sentence Structure and Style (Grammar):

Well written sentences and effective use of language.

Effective sentences with occasional errors.

Poor word choice, cumbersome sentences with little flow.

Multiple and serious errors such as fragments, run-ons, etc. Hard to follow ideas expressed.

Mechanics and Presentation:

Virtually free of punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors.

Occasional punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors.

Multiple punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors.

Frequent punctuation, spelling and capitalization errors to the point of hindering understanding of the material.

Research and Citations:

Good use of varied sources, appropriate citations following Chicago style author-date format.

Adequate number of sources, appropriate citations following Chicago style author-date format.

Limited number of sources (possibly too dependent on Internet-only sources), some sources not properly cited, incomplete grasp of Chicago style author-date format.

Multiple failure to adequately cite sources, does not follow Chicago style author-date format, inadequate number of sources.