Pol 11: Final Paper Instructions (Fall 2014)

Bronx Community College – College Now – Fall 2014
Introduction to Political Science
University Heights High School

Professor Roy R. Rogers


Final Paper Instructions

General Instructions

            The largest portion of the student’s grade will be final paper. In this paper students will be asked to assess a problem them in contemporary American society (i.e. police brutality, sexism, internet privacy, etc.) and offer policy suggestions on how to resolve this problem. For their paper students are to use three to five academic, journalistic, and/or scholarly sources (not Wikipedia!) in their research. Generally papers should be between four to seven pages

The first draft is to be finished by NOVEMBER 3 and a second draft finished by NOVEMBER 24. The final version is due on DECEMBER 22.


Research Questions

            This research paper has two central parts. The first is identifying a problem in American society and showing why it needs to be fixed. The second is offering solutions to the problem through changes in public policy.

            Students are to think of a problem they see in American society – it could racism, sexism, homophobia, education, children’s rights, health care, police brutality, transportation, drug laws, etc. etc. Once they have identified a problem in American society students will need to show how it is a problem using facts and research. This research should be conducted by consulting scholarly (books, journals) or journalistic sources (newspapers, magazines). For an example of appropriate sources please see below.

            Example: if one was writing a paper on the “war on drugs” one would consult articles in the New York Times to show how out of control enforcement of anti-drug laws are and the negative impact this has on poor communities.

           Once students have identified their problem they are to offer suggestions as to how public policy can be changed to fix this problem. What is public policy? It is the actions of government (state, local, federal) and other public institutions (schools, churches, mosques, etc.) that shape and limit how our society operates. This ranges from things like laws and court decisions to customs – like getting up from your seat in the subway for an elderly person. Public policy is the decisions our society has made as to how it should be run. In your paper you should offer concrete suggestions, drawn from your research, as to how public policy could be changed to resolve your chosen problem.

            Example: if one was writing a paper on the “war on drugs” one could suggest that making some illegal drugs legal would improve the situation or changing the length of time that people convicted of possessing drugs serve in prison.



            Students must have three to five academic, journalistic and/or scholarly sources for their research. These sources may be primary or secondary sources but, a student must have at least three secondary sources for their final paper. All sources must be cited in proper format and every paper must have a properly formatted bibliography. Proper formatting for paper writing will be discussed in class on October 27.

Acceptable sources include:

  • Books
  • Scholarly Journal Articles
  • Reputable websites [NOT Wikipedia]
  • Newspapers
  • News Magazines [not US Weekly]
  • Book Chapters

If a student is confused as to what is an acceptable source they should consult with the instructor.


Important Dates

The following dates are the key steps in writing and revising your paper in the strongest piece of writing possible. The more you revise and sharpen your paper the higher your grade will be.

  • September 17 – Paper topic must be chosen
  • October 22 & October 27 – Discussion of paper writing skills
  • November 3 – A first draft must be handed in
  • November 10 – Individual Meetings About Papers
  • November 24 – A second draft must be handed in
  • December 15 – Individual Meetings About Papers
  • December 22 – A final draft must be handed in

Author: Roy Rogers

I am currently a PhD candidate in American History at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). My undergraduate education was at Shepherd University (Political Science & History) and I received an MA in History from George Mason University. As a historian, my research interests include early American history, the early American republic (1780 to 1830), political history, religious history, and gender history. I live in Brooklyn with my girlfriend and our cat.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s