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Topic Selection and Submission 1. Caps 4360.18 Dr. Brian William Smith. Office Hours. Today 10-2 Tomorrow 11-2 Friday 10-12. Learning Outcomes Covered Today.

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topic selection and submission 1

Topic Selection and Submission 1

Caps 4360.18

Dr. Brian William Smith

office hours
Office Hours
  • Today 10-2
  • Tomorrow 11-2
  • Friday 10-12
learning outcomes covered today
Learning Outcomes Covered Today
  • Define an appropriate and current problem that is being actively discussed by real decision makers at a specific level of government.


  • Social Problem
  • Immigration
  • Failing Public Schools
  • National Debt
  • Global Warming
  • Controversial Solution
  • Dream Act
  • Race to the Top
  • Fair Tax
  • Cap and Trade
A Good topic has a social problem, with a solution, and decision makers are actively trying to solve it
topic proposals
Topic Proposals
  • Due in Class on 1/28/2013
  • Paper must be typed
  • Be Ready to make some changes (for the better)
do i have a good topic
Do I have a good topic?
  • Clearly Identified Social Problem
  • Policy history on my topic
  • Legitimate Controversial Policy Solution
  • Pro and Con Sides
submission one 10
Submission One – 10%
  • Paper One consists of 2 parts:
  • Research Proposal (worksheet)
  • Annotated Bibliography
research proposal
Research Proposal
  • Worksheet.
  • Overview ONLY!
  • Do not go into depth.
  • Get the arguments right!
  • In prose form, this becomes the introduction to Submission Two.
sub 1 annotated bibliography
Sub 1: Annotated Bibliography
  • Basically a feasibility study
  • Requires 14 sources total, pro- and con-
  • Books, scholarly articles, legitimate websites and government resources
  • No “helper” sources (limited journalistic sources and magazines allowed, but NO Wikipedia, NO Taking Sides or Controversial Issues citations etc.)
  • Include: MLA Works Cited plus “annotations” (comments on each source’s authority, and on how you will use each source)
  • Due on February 13th
how many sources
How Many Sources
  • 14 Total
    • 7 for the Pro Side
    • 7 For the Con Side
  • These should be solid/authoritative sources
good vs bad
Good vs. Bad
  • Good
    • Scholarly journal articles
    • Government documents
    • Reputable newspapers
    • Webpages of influental groups
  • Bad
    • Wikipedia
    • Private Individuals with webpages
    • Non-influential groups
    • Trade publications (People, Esquire)
annotation involves 2 things
Annotation involves 2 things
  • Develop a standard MLA citation for each entry
  • Summarizing each source
    • Why it is credible
    • How it will contribute to your project
  • Submission One = Annotated Bibliography + Research Proposal (worksheet)
  • Research Proposal is revised for the introduction to Submission Two and subsequent submissions.

Save the information to put in your Research File

topic question the title of your project and your papers
TOPIC QUESTIONThe title of your project (and your papers)
  • Concern about what should be done about a specific social problem (i.e., a normative question)
  • Answers imply a policy, so be specific
  • Lets use a hypothetical:

Should the Federal Government approve the Keystone pipeline?

  • One specific answer to topic question
  • Particular stance on topic
    • Yes, the federal government should approve the Keystone Pipeline
    • No, the federal government should not approve the Keystone Pipeline
  • Identify all who share a position using shortcuts (efficient)
  • Tell readers
    • Opponents and Proponents
    • Side A and Side B
    • Pro Dream Act, and Anti Dream Act
  • Avoid generalizations
  • “Who holds each position?”
  • Important actors with a vested interest
    • Environmental Groups
    • Labor Unions
    • Oil Companies
    • Politicians
general stakeholders aggregate data
  • Broad types of people who have taken a specific position
  • Qualify as precisely as possible (some, many, %’s)
  • Not all of one type of people ever take one position (e.g. All Dems or Reps)
specific stakeholders individual data
  • These are real actors
  • “Leading the charge” for a given side
  • Specific individuals or named groups
    • Mitt Romney, Former Presidential Candidate
    • Nancy Pelosi, Former Speaker of the House
  • Broad concerns that the sides are arguing over
  • No opinionated language
  • Generally sides “share” issues
  • Usually 4-5 issues per controversy
  • Gives the OPINION of the side (which includes all the parties to the controversy) about each specific issue
  • Each side may have several arguments about each issue
  • Each argument should relate back to the side’s position.
  • What each side uses to SUPPORT its arguments
  • Can include:
    • Statistical information
    • Case studies
    • Expert testimony
plans actions
  • “What are the sides doing to insure their position is the one in force?”
  • Practical, concrete actions
  • Examples:

developing proposals


working with electoral system at all levels

using the media

examples of plans actions
  • Pro-Keystone:
    • working with lobbyists
    • electing sympathetic candidates
    • mobilizing supporters
  • Anti-Keystone
    • conducting studies to delay
    • media campaigns
    • electing sympathetic candidates
  • Beliefs about what is good and desirable, or what is undesirable and to be avoided
  • All parties on a side hold all values
  • Topic question = the clearly stated controversy
  • Positions = possible answers to the topic question
  • Stakeholders = describes who takes each position
    • General = broad types of people
    • Specific = named groups or individuals who are leaders on each side
review cont
REVIEW, cont.
  • Issues = Concerns that the sides are arguing over
  • Arguments = opinions of each side related to each issue
  • Evidence – what a side gives to support each argument
review cont1
REVIEW, cont.
  • Plans = Concrete actions taken to insure that the side’s position is the one in force
  • Values = beliefs about what is right and wrong
review example
  • Topic question: Should the Federal Government approve the Keystone pipeline?
  • One position: No, the federal government should not approve the pipeline
  • Side Nickname: opponents
review example cont
  • General Stakeholders on opponents side: Environmental Groups, some Democrats; etc.
  • Specific Stakeholders on opponents side: Sierra Club, President Obama
review example cont1
  • Opponents side’s plans: electing Democrats, delaying through studies.
  • Opponents side’s underlying values: The environment, safety, reduced dependence on oil