The Policy Research Paper is a course-long project that allows you the opportunity to examine a current (add: local, state, or) national societal issue that you feel could be properly alleviated, or perhaps even resolved, via public policy making.
As you consider topics, remember that this policy paper should contain a comprehensive assessment of the problem, the proposed policy, and the potential consequences of implementation of that policy. When you write your paper, you should think of yourself as a staff person who must advise a policy maker facing a problem that must be resolved in the near future. As this staff person, adopt one of the perspectives of public administration as discussed in class, and frame your responses around this approach.
The Policy Research Paper should be 8 to 12 pages, double-spaced, 12-point font. The paper should include a cover page, table of contents, introduction, body of the report, summary or conclusion, and a reference page). The page count does not include the cover, table of contents, or reference page(s).
At least six authoritative, outside references are required (anonymous authors or web pages are not acceptable). These should be listed on the last page titled references.
The paper should follow the American Psychological Association (APA) guidelines.
Appropriate citations are required.
All DeVry University policies are in effect, including the plagiarism policy.
Papers are due during Week 6 of this course.
Any questions about this paper may be discussed in the Course Q & A Forum.
The paper should include the following components.
DEFINE THE ISSUE Introduce the problem or issue that you are researching. The purpose of this section is to tell the reader what problem you are addressing and why it is important.
BACKGROUND Describe any historical aspects of the topic, particularly ones that are important to an understanding of the issue. Also important to this section is a discussion of key stakeholders and policy networks. Policy networks include concerned citizen groups, elected officials, and special interest groups.
IDENTIFICATION OF POLICY ALTERNATIVES This is the main section of your paper. In this section, you will describe what is currently being done (if anything) with respect to the problem, and then compare that to what could be done. When you consider possible alternatives that the government could take, remember to include the following.
Description of two to three alternative methods to resolve the issue you presented
Consequences of each alternative method: For example, who would be affected, what costs might be incurred and by whom, and what benefits might be realized?
Description of evaluation criteria: This should help you compare alternatives across a number of areas. For example, cost could be key criteria for comparing alternatives, but there may be other concerns that are equally important to resolve. You might find an inexpensive alternative, but it might not be politically feasible to implement, for example. Once the criteria are identified, you should establish a way to prioritize the criteria. Which are the most important and why? Think about the discussions in class regarding decision making and evaluation.
RECOMMENDATIONS Remember that you wrote this paper from the perspective of a staff person presenting this analysis to a policy maker. Now you are ready to make a recommendation on one of these alternatives. In this section, outline which alternative you would recommend to the policy maker, including a brief summary of how you arrived at this conclusion.
CATEGORY POINTS % DESCRIPTION
Research Topic 20 10 How pertinent is the research topic? Is the problem presented one that is current and one that could be properly addressed via public policy?
Documentation and Formatting 20 10 Is the paper formatted per APA style? Is a cover page presented? Is there a header on each page? Are the references presented on a separate page with each reference entry properly formatted?
Organization and Cohesiveness 20 10 Is the paper well organized? Is there an introduction? Are there appropriate headings for the various topics throughout the paper? Are transitions used between thoughts and topics?
Editing 20 10 Have basic rules of grammar been followed? Are sentences properly formed and paragraphs used appropriately? Are spelling errors infrequent?
Citations 20 10 Has the minimum of six reliable sources been listed on the reference page? Are citations used throughout the paper to support aspects such as the existence of the problem and the attempts to solve the problem thus far?
Content 100 50 Does the body of the paper clearly set forth the issue, the approach to public administration used, and the recommended course of action? Are the suggestions practical? Is the conclusion well stated?
TOTAL 200 100 A quality paper will meet or exceed all of the above requirements.
The following are best practices in preparing this paper.
Cover Page: Include who you prepared the paper for, who prepared, and date.
Table of Contents: List the main ideas and section of your paper and the pages in which they are located. The illustrations should be included separately.
Introduction: Use a header on your paper. This will indicate you are introducing your paper.
Introduce the subject and highlight why the subject is important.
Review the main ideas and the order in which they will be covered.
Establish a tone of the document.
Body of the Report: Use a header titled with the name of your project. Example: “The Development of Hotel X – A World Class Resort.” Then proceed to break out the main ideas. State the main ideas, state major points in each idea, and provide evidence. Break out each main idea you will use in the body of your paper. Show some type of division, like separate sections that are labeled, separate groups of paragraphs, or headers. You would include the information you found during your research and investigation.
Summary and Conclusion: Summarizing is similar to paraphrasing but presents the gist of the material in fewer words than the original. An effective summary identifies the main ideas and major support points from the body of your report. Minor details are left out. Summarize the benefits of the ideas and how they affect the tourism industry.
Document Your Facts Throughout the Paper: Document your facts, including the opinions of others, throughout the paper with proper citations. For example, in establishing that a problem exists, use appropriate sources to cite facts, figures, and statistics. In explaining the approach to public administration chosen, a textbook (including the one for this course) may be an excellent source. When addressing solutions attempted thus far, news accounts and scholarly journals may be useful. In documenting the political aspects, reliance on news periodicals may be apt.
Work Cited: Use the citation format as specified in the Syllabus.
Additional hints on preparing the best possible project are as follows.
Apply a three-step process of writing: plan, write, and complete.
Prepare an outline of your research paper before you go forward.
Complete a first draft and then go back to edit, evaluate, and make any changes required.
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