American Government Policy Paper
This project is an opportunity to carefully examine a contemporary foreign policy issue between the United States government and one other foreign government.
Completing this activity is a mandatory component of this course. It serves as the standard course assessment for all GOVT 2305 students and is a college requirement. Failure to submit and complete this project in its entirety will result in a failing grade for the course.
There are four steps to completing this project:
Step 1 – Identifying the Issue
The policy paper will address a US foreign policy concern toward a country or specific topic. Only one of the topics listed below may be selected. Pick one and begin your research immediately:
• The future of the NATO alliance
• Deforestation of the Amazon
• Political development in Afghanistan
• The use of sanctions as an effective tool of diplomacy
• Political development in Venezuela
• The threat of nuclear proliferation
• The status of Palestinian refugees
• Nigerian political instability
• Economic development in El Salvador
• Support for Saudi Arabia in light of human rights concerns
• Military aid to Egypt
• Military aid to Ukraine
• Turkey’s membership in NATO
Step 2 – Gathering Sources
Conduct research to locate three academic journal articles (aka: peer-reviewed or 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 will not count toward the scholarly source minimum requirements.
• Carefully choose sources that provide a variety of perspectives on your selected topic.
• In addition to the minimum research requirements, you should use high quality 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 These may include academic sources that are not peer-reviewed (position papers), newspaper articles, magazine articles, and other quality or reputable sources.
• The course textbook, encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), and almanacs, are reference materials and are not to be listed as sources on the collegiate level.
Step 3 – The Proposal
Submit a one to two page proposal to the appropriate dropbox by the date specified in the course calendar. The proposal must:
• Identify the topic in one or two paragraphs:
- Summarize the foreign policy topic you will be addressing
- Describe the current status of the policy or topic
- Describe why this policy is important to the United States
Cite each of your academic journal articles at least once in the paragraph using correct 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.
• These three references must be cited in the final policy paper.
• Additional sources can be added (and should if a good grade is desired), but they cannot be changed without permission after the proposal is approved.
• In-text citations and the Works Cited or Reference section must be formatted using MLA citation style. Other MLA formatting elements (e.g. header, page number format, etc.) are not used in this assignment.
• Do not use block quotations (or any quotation that exceeds three lines of text) 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 academic journal articles, 2) that you have selected an appropriate topic, and 3) that you are able to correctly cite your sources. 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 does not meet the minimum assignment requirements, you will be asked to “revise and resubmit” the assignment. In such cases, a minimum letter grade deduction is always applied to the resubmitted assignment. The instructor will inform you of the due date and conditions of resubmission.
The Revise and Resubmit applies only to policy proposals that are submitted by the due date. 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 assignment are in high danger of failing the course if their policy paper topic and sources do not meet minimum requirements.
Step 4 – The Policy Paper
Prepare a formal research paper regarding the selected policy. The assignment must be between 5-8 pages excluding quotations, cover page, and Works Cited page(s).
The essay should address the following:
• An introduction and brief overview of the current issues facing the countries.
• The reasons for initiating changes to existing policy.
• The possible policy options or alternatives to be considered (discuss several).
• The pros and cons of each policy option or alternative (costs vs. benefits).
• The best policy option or alternative (pick one).
• A summary and conclusion
Do not use first person in the proposal or final policy paper!
The paper body must be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 full pages in length, double-spaced. No more and no less is necessary for this activity. Keep direct quotes to a minimum; do not use block quotations. All key arguments, facts, assertions, and claims must be supported with research. The references approved in the policy proposal must be used in the policy paper: you may add additional sources (and should if you seek an A on the assignment), but you must seek approval from the instructor at least 72 hours before the policy paper due date if you intend to change any of the scholarly sources approved in the proposal.
There will be no opportunity to revise and resubmit this assignment. Failure to meet the minimum research and writing requirements will result in a zero for the entire assignment (no partial credit will be awarded as this is a formal institutional assessment). A zero on this assignment will result in a failing grade for the course.
Finally, add a cover page and include the References (also known as Works Cited) page at the end. Submit all pages together as one file to the assignment dropbox.
The grading standards used to assess the quality of your work for this project will be detailed in a grading rubric, which will be provided during the semester.
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 date. The final product is to be submitted as a single file via the submission guidelines identified by the instructor.
Procrastination on this project has resulted in some students, who were otherwise passing, having to fail and repeat the course.