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Formal Assessment Guidelines – GOVT 2305 Policy Paper

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There are four steps to completing this project:

Step 1 – Identifying the Issue

Identify a critical issue in the US foreign policy relationship with one other nation. Try to pick a country of personal interest, which should help motivate your research efforts. Finally, identify strategies that could be used to improve the policy (a thesis statement).

Pick one of the following topics of US Foreign Policy (USFP):

  • USFP and Development in Haiti
  • USFP and Drug Cartels in Mexico
  • USFP and Military Aid to Pakistan
  • USFP and Venezuela’s Political Crisis
  • USFP and the Trade Deficit with China
  • USFP and Counter-Terrorism in Nigeria
  • USFP and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia
  • USFP and Chinese Cyber-Terrorism Efforts

Step 2 – Gathering Sources

Conduct research to locate three peer-reviewed, academic journal articles (aka: scholarly sources) that specifically address issues within the foreign policy relationship you selected and meet the following criteria:

  • The articles must be no more than ten (10) years old.
  • The article must have more than five (5) pages of actual content (without graphs, charts, footnotes, citations, etc.).
  • Books, dissertations, and theses will not count toward the scholarly source minimum requirements.Carefully choose those sources that provide a variety of perspectives on your selected topic.
  • In addition to the minimum research requirements, you should offer “supplemental sources” for essential current events information relevant to your topic. These may include academic sources that are not peer-reviewed (position papers), newspaper articles, magazine articles, and other quality or reputable sources.
  • Textbooks, Dictionaries, Encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), Almanacs, or an Atlas are reference materials and are not to be listed as sources on the collegiate level.
  • Provide the formal MLA citation for each source, both in the body of the essay and on the works cited page.

Step 3 – The Proposal

Submit a two page proposal (cited information do not count toward the minimum writing requirement) to the appropriate dropbox by the date specified in the course calendar. The proposal should:

  • Identify the policy topic in one or two paragraphs
  • Summarize the specific foreign policy issue you will be investigating
  • Describe the current status of the policy
  • Describe why the specific policy issue is important to the United States and the partner nation
  • Cite each of your academic journal articles at least once in the proposal using proper MLA in-text citations.
    • Include the Works Cited or Reference section with the three (at a minimum) peer-reviewed academic journal articles that will form the basis of your policy paper. Once approved, these three sources they cannot be changed without permission.
    • Each of these three sources must be cited in the final policy paper.
    • Supplemental sources are not required for the proposal, but can be included. Just be sure each one is cited in the proposal. You will need supplemental sources for the final paper.
    • The Works Cited or Reference section must be formatted using MLA citation style.
    • Do not use block quotations or first person in the proposal or final policy paper!

References provided in the proposal cannot be changed at a later date without approval (see Step 4 below).

An example of a good policy proposal is provided in eCampus.

A fundamental expectation of college writing is that all key arguments, facts, assertions and claims are supported with research (i.e. parenthetical citations). When a source has been cited, you are expected to acknowledge the source in the body of your text and on a Works Cited page using formal MLA citation format. The paper must be completed using the formatting guidelines provided in the syllabus as “Guidelines for all Coursework.”

I do not allow students to recycle or use essays from other courses. You must receive consent from me in order to do so and you will need to provide a solid justification. Please do not simply submit an assignment that you’ve used in another course as it will not be accepted unless approved.

Revise and Resubmit Policy

The purpose of the proposal process is for your instructor to confirm that 1) you have selected three appropriate scholarly, peer-reviewed sources and 2) that you have selected an appropriate topic. Additionally, it allows your instructor to give you feedback on your writing (grammar, sentence composition, punctuation, and spelling) as well as your use of proper MLA citation formatting.

Should you submit a proposal that 1) does not address an appropriate topic, 2) does not meet the minimum writing expectations in your own words, 3) does not reference three scholarly sources that meet the research criteria, or 4) does not use proper MLA citations, you will be asked to “revise and resubmit” the assignment. In such cases, the revision will be worth up to half credit. The instructor will inform you of the due date and conditions of resubmission. If your proposal lacks more than one of the required components, it will be considered an incomplete assignment and a revision will not be permitted.

The Revise and Resubmit applies only to policy proposals that are submitted by the due date and are missing only one of the requirements listed above. Only one “Revise and Resubmit” will be allowed. Failure to resubmit the revision before the provided due date, or failure to correct the identified issues in need of revision, will result in a zero for the proposal grade. More seriously, students that do not successfully complete the proposal would be missing part of the term project.

Failure to complete the proposal or a requested revision will result in the entire assignment being incomplete.

Step 4 – The Policy Paper

Prepare a formal research paper regarding the selected policy. The assignment is to be 5-8 pages excluding any direct quotes, paraphrased information, cover page and works cited page(s).

The essay is to discuss each of the following prompts:

  • An introduction and brief overview of the policy relationship.
  • What are the major issues facing each country involved?
  • What are the reasons for initiating changes to the policy?
  • What are the options to be considered (discuss several)?
  • What are the pros and cons of each potential reform (costs v. benefits)?
  • Which is the best option moving forward (pick one)?
  • A summary and conclusion

Special Notes:

The standards used to assess the quality of your work for this project are detailed in a grading rubric, which has been provided in the term project area.

It is strongly suggested that every student read ahead and use the library database during the first days of the course to begin researching a topic. This project requires carefully planning throughout the semester.

Refer to the course calendar for the specific due dates. The proposal and the final essay are to be submitted as a single file via the SafeAssign online submission system. There is a dropbox in unit 1 for the proposal and a dropbox in unit 2 for the final paper

Procrastination on this project has resulted in some students, who were otherwise passing, having to fail and repeat the course.