You are tasked with choosing a recent federal congressional law that has been proposed or passed and write a paper stating why you agree or disagree with that specific law (your thesis). In this paper you will need to explain the law, give arguments for and against the law, and provide evidence you gather from your individual research to back up these arguments, and in turn, your thesis.
POSC 101: American Politics: Research Paper Prompt:
Do you agree with Legislative Law?
– You are tasked with choosing a recent federal congressional law that has been proposed or passed and write a paper stating why you agree or disagree with that specific law (your thesis). In this paper you will need to explain the law, give arguments for and against the law, and provide evidence you gather from your individual research to back up these arguments, and in turn, your thesis.
– Due date
o A hard copy is due in class on the date above.
o An electronic copy will also be due via the Safe Assign Link on Blackboard by the due date.
o Late papers will be docked 1/3 of a letter grade per day. To not be considered late, I must receive both the hard copy and electronic copy prior to the turn in date.
? If you are to turn in the paper late, turn an electronic copy in to the Safe Assign link and send me an emailed copy of the paper so that will count as your time stamp.
– Please follow these specific instructions when writing your paper.
– Choose a federal law that has been passed or proposed in the 113th Congress (2013-2014), or the 114th Congress (2015-2016).
o Current Examples of the 113th Congress include but are not limited to:
? Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act
? Pandemic and All Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act
? Student Loan Certainty Act
? Missing Children?s Assistance Reauthorization Act
? Birthright Citizenship Act
o Current Examples of the 114th Congress include but are not limited to:
? Defund Planned Parenthood Act
? Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act
? Pay Workers a Living Wage Act
? Reducing Gun Violence in our Neighborhoods Act
? Free Market Healthcare Restoration Act and Coverage Act
– Outline of Paper – In addressing your topic, your paper should be organized into 5 primary sections.
o Introduction (1 page)
? 1. Introduce the general topic and legislation of the paper – You should introduce the general topic of the paper and establish the importance and relevance of it. From that, introduce the legislation that addresses this general topic.
? 2. Thesis statement ? State your opinion about whether you agree or disagree with this piece of legislation and provide 2 arguments as to why you hold the viewpoint that you do.
? 3. Overview of paper – Provide a brief summary of what the paper will address. For example, an outline would say something like, ?first this paper will ?, second this paper will?, and finally this paper will??
o Brief Explanation of Law (1 page)
? 1. Explain the purpose or intent of the legislation. What does the legislation do or what does it attempt to accomplish? In this section consider using quotes from the bill/law to help highlight what it does.
? 2. Explain what stage/step it is at currently in the legislative process? For example, has the bill been signed into law by the President, or is it currently being debated in a House subcommittee?
? 3. Identify the active institutional participants who support and reject the law. This section should be no more than 10 groups/individuals for those that support and oppose the legislation.
o Argument Section (2 pages)
? 1. Thesis statement ? restate the thesis that you provided in your introduction to remind the reader where you stand on this legislation.
? 2. Reasons/arguments – Substantiate this thesis with supporting arguments (at least two). Your aim is to convince the reader that your stance on the law is correct. Thus, it is not enough to simply make an argument; you must also provide concrete evidence to support that argument.
? The types of arguments that you use will depend on your topic. However, some general categories that you can use include: economic arguments, constitutional argument, ethical/moral arguments, etc.
? The types of evidence that you will use to prove your arguments correct can include quantitative data (statistics, scientific studies, etc.), and qualitative data (descriptive analysis, statements from trusted sources, documented eye witness accounts, etc.).
o Counter-argument Section (1 ? page)
? 1. Counter-argument ? State the opposing viewpoint to your own.
? 2. Reason/argument ? Explain and discuss the argument for this opposing view. What evidence do opponents use to support why they think their opinion is correct?
? 3. Rebuttal ?Explain why you think that the counter-argument is incorrect. In order to successfully do this, evidence must be provided to show the counter-argument?s position is flawed.
o Conclusion ( ? page)
? 1. Briefly summarize what you have done in your paper, restating your thesis and why you think your position is most convincing.
? 2. Provide final thoughts and implications about this legislation making the paper feel complete.
? 1. Provide a full source citation for any source that you use in the paper. I expect at least 5 scholarly sources listed in alphabetical order.
? For more information on how to cite sources in the paper and in the bibliography, please see below.
– Paper Specs
? At least 6 full pages of substantive content, not including the title page or bibliography. There is a 10% point deduction for every omitted page.
? 12 point, Times New Roman only.
? Double spaced, 1 inch margins.
? Points will be deducted for poor grammar and spelling.
o Citing Sources
? You must cite at least 5 scholarly sources; this can include the text book, journal articles, newspaper articles, scholarly text books, books, government documents, court cases, government official websites, interest groups websites, congressperson websites).
? Good sources and search engines to start your research:
o Database on 111th Congress – http://www.opencongress.org/
o Library of Congress – http://www.loc.gov/index.html
o House of Representatives website – http://www.house.gov/
o The White House website – http://www.whitehouse.gov/
o Google Scholar ? http://scholar.google.com/
? Bad Sources ? DO NOT USE
o Wikipedia, Answers.com, etc.
? Please use MLA formatting in your paper.
? In paper
o ?Obama argues that the healthcare law provides millions of indigent individuals health insurance.? (citation name, page #).
? In bibliography for internet source
o Name of author. ?Article Title.? Source Name. Date published. Date accessed.
? For more information, see http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/02/
o Ask for Help
i. If you aren?t sure about something, be sure to ask me! Additionally, if you have any rough drafts or outlines you would like me to read, please have no hesitation in sending them to me. Finally, be sure to read through the ?writing tips? and ?sample paper? I have provided to you to help with your writing. Best of
Instructions on Grading Research Papers
The way I grade is by simply making deductions where I see errors. The following is a list of deduction values for specific types of errors in papers.
TYPICAL POINT DEDUCTIONS
– Late Policy (3% point deduction per day) – There is a 3 point deduction for every day the paper is late.
– Page Length (1-10% points deduction per page) – If the paper is not six full pages from the beginning of the intro to the end of conclusion using the correct formatting, then students will be docked appropriately. For example, if it is a full page missing (then students are deducted 10 points). If it is 2 pages missing, then -20 points. If it is ? a page missing, then -5 points. If it is ? page missing, then -7 points. Etc.
o Note, extra spacing in between paragraphs is not considered content.
– Organization (1% point per violation) ? If a paper is unorganized, mark down appropriately. Examples may include, but are not limited to:
o Focusing on more than one issue/argument at a time in a given paragraph. A paragraph should focus on one issue at a time.
o Not providing a topic sentence or concluding sentence for a paragraph.
o Not transitioning from one argument or issue to the next.
o Providing detailed arguments/counter-arguments before explaining what the law does.
o Providing evidence before explaining the argument/counter-argument.
o Providing arguments in the counter-argument section. Or providing counter-arguments in the argument section.
– Incomplete (1-3% points per violation) ? If the logic to their argument seems incomplete (missing step B when trying to argue from point A to C), paper is marked down appropriately.
– Unconvincing (1-3% points per violation) ? If the logic seems unconvincing, mark paper down appropriately.
– Irrelevant Issue (1-3% points per violation) ? If the argument or topic addressed is irrelevant to the thesis, mark them down appropriately.
– No explanation of evidence (1-2% points) ? Evidence is not self explanatory. Student must explain how the evidence supports their argument. Failure to do this results in appropriate deduction.
– Improper explanation of evidence (1-2% points) ? If the explanation of the evidence is weak or incorrect, mark down appropriately.
– Irrelevant evidence (1-2% points per violation) ? If evidence is irrelevant to the argument, mark down appropriately.
– Lack of evidence (1-2% points per violation) ? If an argument is not backed up with any evidence, mark down appropriately.
– Lack of Sources (1% point per source missed) ? If paper doesn?t have at least 5 different sources, mark down appropriately.
– Invalid Sources (1% per source used) ? if a student uses an invalid source (such as Wikipedia, ask.com, etc.), mark down appropriately.
– Minor Plagiarism (1% point per violation) ? Anytime a student provides evidence or information that is not common knowledge, they must provide a reference citation in the text and its corresponding full citation in the bibliography. Failure to do either of these for either direct quotes or paraphrasing results in appropriate point deduction.
o It also warrants a one-point deduction if material is copied and pasted from a source referenced in bibliography, but it is not quoted.
– Major Plagiarism ? If a student outright copies and pastes material from a source without the use of quotes or citations, that will lead to major point deductions. Points will be deducted based on how long the plagiarism is in proportion to the length of the paper. For example, if 10% of the paper is plagiarized, then students will be deducted 10% of the overall grade for the paper. If 20% is plagiarized, then 20% point deduction, etc.
– Incomplete Works Cited page (-3%) ? If students provide an incomplete bibliography, such as only listing the website urls, they are marked down appropriately.
Grammar/Spelling (1% point per violation)
– For every 10 grammar/spelling/punctuation mistakes found, paper is deducted 1% point.
Paper Prompt (Research Paper)
– Federal law within time frame (5% points) ? If the legislation is not a federal bill/law proposed within the specific time frame, then mark down appropriately.
o Importance/relevance of topic (2% points)
? Paper should provide a general topic that will be discussed explaining why it is important. Then it should narrow the focus to the law being addressed in the paper. Failure to do this results in appropriate deduction.
o Thesis (1-5% points)
? -5% if there is no thesis.
? -3% if student does not state if they agree or disagree with law.
? -1-2% if student does not provide 2 arguments supporting position.
o Outline (3% points)
? Failure to provide an outline to their paper results in appropriate point deduction.
– Brief Explanation of Law
o Explain law (1-5% points)
? -5% if there is no explanation of the law.
? -1-3% if it is incomplete explanation of law.
? -1-3% if it is incorrect explanation of law.
o Identify who supports/rejects law (1-4% points)
? The paper should provide at least 2 people/groups supporting law and 2 people/groups rejecting law. -1% point per omission.
– Argument Section:
? -5% for omitted argument. Must provide at least 2 different arguments. Only presenting 1 argument is a 5% deduction.
? -1% for every argument presented that is not in the thesis.
? For additional point deductions, see ?logic? and ?evidence? sections above.
– Counter-argument section:
? -5% if there is no counterargument.
? For additional point deductions, see ?logic? and ?evidence? sections above.
o Rebuttal (5% points)
? -5% if there is no rebuttal.
? -1-2% for every counter-argument that student fails to rebut.
? For specific point deductions, see ?logic? and ?evidence? above.
– Conclusion (3% points)
o -1% if the conclusion does not summarize what the paper has done.
o -2% if paper does not feel complete.