Any topic (writer’s choice)

Directions: Please write a one page typed Personal Statement about who you are.  Among other things,  include  what  you  are  planning  on  majoring  in,  one  or  two  things  that  you  like  to  do (dancing, football, friends, etc.), what you want to do when you get older, and your impressions and expectations of Introduction to Politics.

STEP (1): Directions: Please write a ten page research paper where you explore and discuss an idea, an issue, a problem or some other political-economic or social phenomena of your choicerelated to Introduction to Politics.  The paper should include a title page, an abstract, a minimum of 20 footnotes (averaging about two per page) and include a bibliography with a minimum of five sources (books, articles, films, interviews, etc.).  You only need to write about ONE topic (e.g., nuclear weapons, abortion, global warming, stem cell research, etc.)

STEP (2): Picking Your Topic: You are interested in understanding US government spending.  You wonder why the United States government seems to have all the money that is necessary for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the military budget, and recent government assistance for the wealthiest members of US society yet has less and less tax revenue for social programs such as education,  health  care  and  assistance  to  the  poor.    You  wonder  if  these  issues  are  related.    You begin  by  reading  about  your  topic(s)  and  develop  a  working  hypothesis  to  explain  government spending between these programs.  What you have learned from your reading (and thinking) about the  topic(s)  is  that  the  US  continues  to  spend  money  on  defense  and  assisting  economically powerful interests yet spends less tax revenue than it did ten years ago for programs which serve the great majority of American people because of, among other things, the impact of the Great Recession and the wars themselves. You recognize that all of these issues are actually interrelated(i.e., the more you spend on one program then the less you can spend on another program) and decide to write your paper explaining why this is the case.

STEP (3): The Structure of Your Paper: It is a good idea before you actually write the paper to layout  the  structure  (or  design)  of  the  paper  including  the  Title  Page,  Abstract,  Introduction, each of the topics and subtopics that you envision writing about, your Conclusion & Resolution and the Bibliography.  This helps you to see what it is that you are writing about, estimate how much you will write in each section, and in general, makes the paper more manageable.

STEP (4): Writing Your Paper: Do the best that you can, it is not easy.  Start from the beginning.  Introduce the paper to the reader under the Introduction heading.  Try to have someone in mind that you are explaining your paper to.  I try to think about someone that I know who doesnt really understand the topic that well but might be interested in it.  Continue to keep that person(s) in mind throughout the paper.  Make it simple, dont worry about big words.  The key is if you understand the topic then you can explain it and that is what you are trying to do. Go through your Research Question  and  Hypothesis  sections  of  the  paper.

They should  be  short  and  to  the  point.    Then move into the paper itself (the body of the paper).  Discuss what you have found out (read about) and  what  you  believe  is  causing  your  phenomena  or  issue  to  happen  (e.g.,  why  has  the  US  not legalized  stem  cell  research,  why  does  the  US  have  a  trade  embargo  against  Cuba,  etc.).    Cite information in your Footnotes and then transfer your footnotes into your Bibliography as you go.  The information placed in your footnotes from your sources is the evidence you have gathered to support what you are writing about.  Once you are done with the body, write your Conclusion & Resolution.  State not only what you found but what you believe to be the problem, and most importantly, the solution to the problem.  Let the paper sit for a couple of days.  Go back and read the paper and make corrections to it as you go.  Let the paper sit a few more days and then go back and read it again to make sure that the grammar and syntax are correct and that the paper flows smoothly.  Readout loud parts of the paper that still arent smooth to make it sound the way that you want it to sound. Work to make sure that every sentence, every word, counts.  When in doubt, cut stuff out of your paper.  The main thing is to keep people interested.  When you are done, print it out.  It gets easier the more you write.  Try to remember that writing is just like talking.  So, write it as you say it.

FOOTNOTES (or Endnotes) & BIBLIOGRAPHIESDiablo Valley CollegePOLSC 120: Introduction to PoliticsJeremy Cloward, Ph.D. All sources,  i.e.,  books,  journals,  newspaper articles, web pages,  etc.,  should be cited,  i.e., footnoted or end-noted, by the author.  Also, a bibliography should be included in the paper at the end of the document.  FOOTNOTES (or Endnotes)

(1) What is a footnote?
A footnote is a note at the bottom of a page where an author gives credit to the source which  he  or  she  has  consulted  for  information  to  assist  in  writing  the  sentence or paragraph that he or she has just written.

(2) What is an endnote?
The same as a footnote except that it goes at the end of the document.  One is not better than the other; however, the footnote is easier for the reader to reference. 

(3) When do I footnote?
Anytime you use the words or ideas of another person, source, database, archive, etc.  The rule is that if you use two or more words of another person then you must put those words in quotation marks and provide a footnote.  If you use the idea of another person then you do not need to use quotations marks but you do need to use a footnote at the end of the sentence or paragraph to explain to your reader where you received the idea from.  Also, if your quotation is longer than five sentences then you should reduce your line spacing to 1.5 and your margins to 1.5 for that particular quotation.

(4) How do I footnote? a.  Press  CNTRL,  ALT,  and  F  simultaneously  on  your  keyboard. You will see a  small superscript 1 or 2 or 3 or whatever number you are on in the sequence of your footnotes in place of your cursor.  At the bottom of the page, you will see a short line.  Underneath that line with be another small number where you will place the relevant information from your source.

(5) What if I am not sure if I should footnote a source or not?
When in doubt footnote.  It will not hurt your paper to have too many footnotes.


(1)  What is a bibliography?
A bibliography is a list of sources that an author has consulted and then used in his or her research paper, article, or book.

(2)  Should my bibliography be in alphabetical order?

(3)Should my bibliography be numbered or bulleted?

(4)  Should my bibliography list every source that I used in my paper

(5)  Should my bibliography list a source that was not cited in my paper?

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