Policy Issues Assignments

Assignment: Research and report on a public policy or political topic that meets the guidelines listed in the next section. Some things to consider writing about:

• What are the significant milestones in your topic’s history? The idea in this paper is not to throw in every detail/development. Part of your task is to exercise judgment and select what is important enough to include and what is not.

• Are there any national laws or Supreme Court decisions around your topic? If yes, these are significant aspects and it is necessary to give these them proper attention in your paper.

• Does your topic play out at the state level too? If yes, what is going on among the states? Do these state actions contradict the federal position? Explore.

• Is your topic controversial or debated? If yes, what is the controversy about? What are the major arguments on each side? Or, what are the politics around the topic? Or, what action or inaction is happening among government leaders?

• Where does your topic stand today? Or, what is the next step that is due to happen?

• Lastly, as part of your closing comments, what is your own opinion on this topic, know that you have done our research? It’s ok to not have a clearly developed opinion; use the space to explore where your thinking is heading.

Topic Guidelines.

Your chosen topic must:

1. Be a national/federal issue. Not a local/state issue. Most topics do play out within the states and that is fine. But the management or solution of your topic must be the responsibility of the national branches of government.

• Example of a national issue: abortion rights is predominately a national issue driven by the U.S. Supreme Court. It does play out in the states and that is ok.

• Example of a local issue: police misconduct is a local issue driven my municipal branches of government. It does play out at the federal level in terms of calls to the Department of Justice to intervene but the predominant issue swirls at the local level.

2. Have sufficient resources/research materials with which to do your paper. Very new or very small issues are less likely to have sufficient sources for your use. Additionally, the resource/research materials must be factually reliable and unbiased.

3. Not be overly broad. For example, immigration covers many different things. Avoid talking about several subjects within one broad policy field, which will result in only a very superficial treatment of everything. Instead, focus on one slice and explore it more deeply.

4. Research your selected topic in an unbiased manner. Give both sides of the story. As a researcher you hold back your opinion, preferring instead to explore all arguments, all evidence. Only after you have reported on all your research, in the final paragraph you can and should explore your own opinion. Again, this should remain in the closing portion of your paper, only after you have presented your research into all sides of the issue.

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