Immigration/ border control OR gun control / Mandatory background checks

Policy Brief Research papers must objectively analyze a political issue and present the arguments made both in favor and against the proposed policy by people and organizations leading the public debate. Equal time should be devoted to both sides of the argument. The goal of the assignment is to thoroughly research the paper topic and then present the findings of your research, that is, the arguments made for and against the policy by individuals and organizations leading the public debate. The paper SHOULD NOT be an essay written in favor or against a policy.
Policy Briefs must…
be 3,000 or more words. Bibliographies and citations do not count towards the overall word count. Please number each page of your paper.
present referenced facts and quotes that substantiate the assertions made in the paper. An assertion is any statement that characterizes the arguments made in the political debate over the issue.
present both sides of the issue in an objective, respectful manner.
be written in clear, grammatically correct English and be free of spelling errors.
use a formal academic citation style (APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc.).

Guide to Writing Research Papers

Research papers must objectively analyze a political issue and present the arguments made both in favor and against the proposed policyby people and organizations leading the public debate.  Equal time should be devoted to both sides of the argument.  The goal of the assignment is to thoroughly research the paper topic and then present the findings of your research, that is, the arguments made for and against the policy by individuals and organizations leading the public debate.  The paper SHOULD NOT be an essay written in favor or against a policy.

 

Research papers must…

  • …be 3,000 or more words. Bibliographies and citations do not count towards the overall word count.Please number each page of your paper.
  • …present referenced facts and quotes that substantiate the assertions made in the paper. An assertion is any statement that characterizes the arguments made in the political debate over the issue.
  • …present both sides of the issue in an objective, respectful manner.
  • …be written in clear, grammatically correct English and be free of spelling errors.
  • …use a formal academic citation style (APA, Turabian, Chicago, etc.).

 

Example Topics & Policies

Political Issue Policy
Gun Control Banning semi-automatic weapons
Gun Control Mandatory background checks
Abortion Mandatory parental notification
Immigration Work visas
Immigration Border patrols

 

Steps to a successful paper

  • Pick a political topic you’re interested in. If topics don’t immediately come to mind, try reading some recent newspapers or magazines to see what issues are being debated.
  • Narrow your topic down to a specific policy proposal. That is, identify the concrete steps people/organizations are calling the government to take in order to address the issue.
  • Identify organizations and people deeply involved in the political debate over the issue on both the pro and con side.
  • Read public materials and statements from those organizations/individuals in order to understand their perspective and logic. Identify the facts they present as part of their argument and how they feel these facts argue their case.
  • Write an introduction that presents your topic, why it is important and what is the specific policy you will be analyzing. Illustrate the topic’s importance with referenced facts.
  • Present the pro and con arguments for the policy, illustrating arguments with facts and quotes offered by people and organizations on both sides of the debate. Explain how each side responds to the arguments made by the other side.
  • Conclude your paper with closing thoughts on the subject and your own personal opinion if you want.
  • Re-read your paper several times to correct grammar and spelling errors and check for clarity and conciseness.

 

Mistakes to Avoid

Not completing the assignment—The assigned task is to analyze a political policy and present arguments both in favor and against the proposed policy.  If your paper does not achieve this task, you will not receive a passing grade.  Writing a paper that presents only one side of the argument or a paper that merely expresses your own opinion is not sufficient to complete the assignment.

Plagiarism—Plagiarism is defined as the unacknowledged submission or incorporation of a quote or paraphrase of another’s work as one’s own offered for credit.  In other words, you may not include any unoriginal material in your paper without acknowledging through proper citation that you are not the author of the material.  Examples of plagiarism include:

  • Copying unacknowledged material from the Internet, books, newspapers, blogs, or other sources
  • Submitting a paper that you did not personally write

Plagiarism is a serious academic offense and zero credit will be given to any student that submits a paper with plagiarized material.

Submitting a paper with minimal original content—Cited material must be used to present facts that substantiate and illustrate the assertions made in your paper.  Cited material cannot, however, constitute the bulk of your paper and a paper comprised chiefly of cited material is not sufficient to complete the assignment.  The use of charts and block quotes is allowed but they do not count towards the page requirement.  In other words, papers must by 8 pages in length exclusive of all charts and block quotes.

Submitting all or part of a paper for credit more than once—The goal of academic work is to expand the student’s knowledge of the subject and to develop skills that can be used after graduation.  The submission of academic work multiple times is detrimental to this goal and students are therefore only allowed to submit academic work once.

Zero credit will be given to any student that submits a paper containing material previously submitted to any class in fulfillment of another assignment.

 

Tips to Successfully Writing a Research Paper

 

When you express an opinion, be clear whose opinion is being expressed.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Cats are often criticized as cold and unfriendly.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Tom B. Doglover has often criticized cats as being cold and unfriendly. (Dallas Morning News, “Puppy Love”)

 

Explain the point and how critics respond to it.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Dog lovers point out that dogs can be trained to do many tricks but cat lovers don’t care about that.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Dog lovers point out that dogs can be trained to do many tricks but cat lovers argue that most dog tricks are not practical but rather just for entertainment purposes.

 

Use facts to illustrate points.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Dogs are very popular.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Over 75 million households in the U.S. have a pet dog. (US Census Bureau, “Household Ownership of Pets” p. 13)

 

Present arguments that represent mainstream views on both sides of the issue and not extremists or obscure views.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Bob Nobody has demanded that, “All dogs be deported out of the U.S. immediately and permanently.”

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Tom Somebody, head of the Cares for Cats Coalition has said, “Cats are simply better pets because they are more independent animals.” (Cares for Cats Coalition, “Why I Like Cats”)

 

Don’t make unsupported assertions—especially big ones.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Nobody in the U.S. really likes cats.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

A recent Gallup survey found Americans favor dogsas pets over cats by a ratio of 2-to-1. (New York Times, “People & Pets”)

 

Avoid flowery, exaggerated language.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Since the dawn of time, mankind has desperately hungered for companionship and assistance with the woeful burdens of life and, in its infinite wisdom, turned to the canine species to fill that eternal hunger.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Dogs have long been popular pets.

 

Avoid using fictionalized or personal stories to substantiate assertions.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Say, for example, three people are walking down the street and one person has a dog that bites the other two people and the bites later become infected and then the two people die a horrible death in the hospital.  The person with the dog has some responsibility for the death of the other two people.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Texas laws hold dog owners accountable for any damaged caused by their pets. (A Guide to Dog-ownership, p.105)

 

Avoid unclear writing

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Much is done by them when they need it to be done.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Dogs perform many helpful tasks for their owners.

 

Identify the person quoted and their position or importance.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

It has been said, “I can’t stand dogs at all.”

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Susan Catcuddler, the high-profile head of the Cares for Cats Coalitions, has said, “I can’t stand dogs at all.” (Cares for Cats, “For the Dogs”)

 

Avoid presenting random or unrelated facts, quotes and opinions.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Over 100m U.S. households have a dog or a cat as a pet.  Henry the VIII had a pet goldfish named Goldfarb and once said, “Man, I really love Goldfarb.”

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Over 100m U.S. households have a dog or a cat—25m households own both a dog and a cat. (A Manuel for Cat Owners, p. 22)

 

Avoid sweeping generalizations.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Dog owners hate cats.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

In a recent survey, 45% of dog owners said they would not want a cat as a pet. (USA Today, “Cats & Dogs”)

 

Cautiously use vague, quantifying terms like “many,” “some,” “sometimes,” “millions,” etc.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Somedogs attack people but somedon’t.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

According to the Dog Awareness Coalition, in 2010 there were 10,203 cases of dogs attacking their owners. (Dog Awareness Coalition, “Beware of Dogs”)

 

Cite the sources of the facts and quotes your present.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

There have been 4,506 cases of cat-attacks.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

According to the Cat Awareness Coalition, there have been 4,506 cases of cat-attacks (Cat Awareness Coalition p. 4).

 

Avoid inflammatory and disrespectful language.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Cat-haters, who love nothing more than seeing cats suffer, stupidly think cats are cold, vengeful animals.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Dog proponents say the independent nature of cats makes them less suitable as pets.

 

Don’t cite contested facts without presenting alternatives.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Cats are dangerous to your health.  (Cat Crazy Blog)

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Cat Crazy, a blog site devoted to the dog vs. cat debate, has claimed that cats are dangerous to your health.  The Cats Cares Coalition and other pro-cat groups, however, refute these claims and point to a 1988 health study that concluded cats pose no significant health risks to their owners (Cats Cares p. 102).

Avoid over-stating your point.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Cat critics point out that you can’t train cats to roll-over, play-dead, fetch a newspaper, fetch a ball, fetch a stick, fetch cat-toys, swim or any other kind of trick.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Cat critics point out that cats cannot be trained to do tricks.

 

Avoid projecting opinions, feelings, and thinking onto others.

Example of writing that will get you a bad grade

Cat owners really want dogs to be banned and fear dogs because they probably had a bad experience with a dog when they were children.

Example of writing that will get you a good grade

Tom Catman the head of the Cat Owners of America said, “Cats present fewer public health risks than dogs.”  (A Manuel for Cats p. 34)

Last Updated on January 25, 2018 by Essay Pro