posc 121 public policy research paper

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POSC 121 Public Policy Research Paper

A public policy is a plan of action with which the government attempts to solve an

economic or social problem. In this paper (worth 50 points) you will examine a specific public

policy. Possible topics include:

Affirmative action

3-strikes law /mandatory sentencing guidelines

The Affordable Care Act

Tax policy

Gun control

Reducing mass shootings

Racial profiling

Law enforcement reform

Welfare spending/reform

Environmental regulation

The endangered species act

Climate change policy

Military spending

Military intervention abroad

Immigration reform

The war on drugs

Congressional term limits

Campaign finance reform

Stem cell research

Mandatory helmet laws

Marriage equality

Accommodations for transgender people

Adoption by homosexual couples

Legalization of drugs

Media regulation

Farm subsidies

Hate crimes legislation

Financial aid for college students

Reducing the national debt

Balancing the budget

Domestic partner benefits

Choose one of these topics.

Your paper must address the following three points:

First discuss the details of the policy issue you are examining. Give the basic facts such as what

the problem is, how the policy attempts to solve the problem, who would be affected by changes in the

policy, and whether the issue has been addressed by policy makers in the past. Include any other

pertinent details. This section of the paper should be at least one and a half to two pages long but you

can make it longer if you like.

Second discuss the opinions of those in favor of the particular public policy change and those

against it. For example if you are writing about the three-strikes law, tell why some oppose it and why

some think it is a good idea. This part of your paper should not reflect your opinion on the issue, rather

it should be an unbiased look at both sides of the issue. It will take about a page and a half to

adequately cover each side of the argument so this section of the paper should be around three pages


Third identify your position on the topic and explain why you hold that opinion. This section of

the paper should be at least one half a page long but may be longer if you have a lot to say about the


Papers must be 3-6 pages long (not including the bibliography), typed and double spaced. If you

use particularly large font, your paper must be correspondingly longer. You must cite at least three

sources which can include books, journal articles, newspaper articles and the internet. You can use our

textbook but it will not count as one of the outside sources. You should have at least three source

citations per page, more would be better. You must include a bibliography in one of the major styles. I

recommend APA, MLA, or Turabian since you will probably use one of them in other classes.

Papers will be evaluated based on the amount of relevant information they contain and how well

they integrate and illustrate concepts learned in class. The paper is not simply an opportunity for you to

express your opinions on political issues (except for the third section of the paper). Your paper


provide a well researched, balanced examination of your topic to earn a satisfactory grade.


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