Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Final paper

For the final paper, you will produce a policy primer, policy analysis, or position paper that argues for a particular policy or for a way of understanding policy. Feel free to adopt a broad understanding of what constitutes public policy. You don't necessarily need to write about economics in the narrowest sense. You could investigate some of the moral or political issues involved in a topic, you could analyze or investigate a case study (a famous musician, company, person, film, etc. etc.) of interest to you, or you could explore the history of a particular concept, notion, cultural trend, etc., that is part of our everyday life. In other words, don't feel overly limited. All that I ask is that you explore your topic in detail, do meticulous research, and examine the significance of the issue you are considering. As long as you can construct an argument about it, and use that argument to convey the significance of the topic, whatever you choose should be fine. Regardless of your topic, your key task as a policy writer is to be able to translate from the dry and detailed to the interesting and back, showing how these two perspectives--the complex details and the bigger picture--which may seem unrelated, ultimately are intimately linked to one another. Any piece that does this is in a broad sense a policy analysis, and these are the important skills that you should take from this course and apply to your future writing. 

Make sure that you are pursuing a topic of interest to you, something that allows you to produce an informative, interesting, and analytically incisive essay: in a relatively short space, it should clarify the most important aspects of an issue, compare some of the different ideas/perspectives on the topic, reveal the merits and demerits of those policies (or the perspectives you are considering on your topic), and most importantly, convincingly establish why we should lean toward a specific policy (or if the paper is less about advocating and more about analyzing, why we should lean toward a specific way of understanding a policy or topic.)

The paper should be 7-10 pages long, double spaced, in 12 point, Times New Roman font, with 1 inch margins, and it should contain 7+ academic sources (journal articles, scholarly books, and intellectually sophisticated periodicals). If you would like a chance to revise the paper, please submit a draft by Thursday, April 18th at 5pm.  If you do not want a chance to revise, the final due date is Wednesday, April 24th at 12pm. All final revisions are due Monday, April 29th, by 12pm. 

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