American government

Writing Assignment

You are to write a current event paper, approximately 750 words in length, consisting of a summary and analysis of a current event having to do with American government and/or politics. You must cite a minimum of five references (sources) in the paper and include a works cited page at the end of the assignment to provide full bibliographic information for each of the references that was cited in the text of the paper. Note that this paper is to be written on a current event of substance. Writing a paper exploring the different sides of a current social issue is not a current event, and if you write such a paper, you will have to redo the assignment. Some examples of issues are — gun control, legalizing any drug, abortion, death penalty, transgenderism. If you write on these or similar topics, you will be redoing the assignment. Some examples of current events are anything that “happens” no earlier than one month before the course started. An example would be President Trump’s sudden ban of transgenders in the military. That was a current event when it happened; it is no longer current. If you have any doubts at all about your selected topic, please run it by me.

By “topic of substance”, I mean a topic that actually matters. Much of what is in the “news” is just to create drama and diversion. You will not be writing any papers on those topics. So, for example, you will not write any papers on anything concerning any celebrities. You will also not write about President Trump and Stormy — that is not a “topic of substance”. And for the most part, unless you have some unique, new insight (which students have sometimes), you will not write about the infighting between the two dominant political parties or anything related to it.

Current event papers must be formatted according to MLA style, for papers with no title page (see the following link to access an online resource for MLA style: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/08/). In addition, please use Courier New 12 point as the paper’s font, and ensure the assignment is double-spaced.

The current event paper should have the following elements:

  • Provide a thorough, but brief, summary of the political issue. An understanding of the issue should be developed by reading the articles uncovered during research for the assignment. The information provided in the summary will lay the foundation for you to react and respond to (analyze) the political issue. Be sure to properly cite within the text (according to MLA style) any information that you obtained from one of your sources. Citations must be provided, even for paraphrased information.
  • Present your perspective on the political issue. Think critically about the topic discussed in the articles and clearly express your thoughts about it in writing. Consider eight standards for critical thinking (Paul and Elder, 2103): clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, and fairness. Ask questions, such as
    1. How can I validate the accuracy of my statement?
    2. How is this information relevant?
    3. How does my conclusion address the complexities of the issue?
    4. What is another interpretation or viewpoint of the issue?
    5. Does my conclusion follow from the data and/or statements I have provided?

Grading will be based on the following criteria:

  • Critical Thinking Skills: the extent to which you have engaged in critical thinking, innovation, and inquiry of a political issue, and has demonstrated analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of information related to the political issue;
  • Communication Skills: the extent to which you have effectively expressed ideas in writing;
  • Personal Responsibility: the ability you have to develop opinions related to a political topic, and recognize the consequences of those choices and decisions;
  • Social Responsibility: the ability you have to demonstrate civic responsibility and engagement by developing an understanding and perspective of a political issue that affects regional, national, and potentially global communities.

Submission Instructions:

Complete your assignment using word-processing software such as MS Word, Open Office (download free software at http://www.openoffice.org/), or other per course requirements. Save your file as an .rtf file to ensure that it can be opened at any computer. Submit your assignment by selecting the title link, browsing to, and attaching your saved file. Make sure to select SUBMIT.

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