Length 800 words (including everything); can be up to 1100 without penalty; should not be less than 750.
Formatting: Standard, 12pt font, double-spaced, with standard 1 inch margins
You do not need a title page; however, your assignment should include your name, student number, and the word count at the front, right under the title.
You are not expected, nor required, to draw on any sources beyond those assigned for this class. You should answer the questions by drawing on the ideas/theories/arguments that you have encountered in the lectures and the assigned readings, along with your own reasoning. You must, of course, cite the sources you use – be it the textbook, one of the assigned articles, or some other source. You may use any standard citation format. Just be consistent and comprehensive. When in doubt, cite.
Don’t assume that your reader agrees with you as you write; indeed, it can be helpful to take the opposite approach and think about how a skeptical reader might view the case you’re making. What objections might they raise? What questions are likely to pop into their heads in response to your argument? The better you can anticipate and respond to these, the better your argument.
Failure to cite sources used in an academic paper, particularly if you fail to indicate that you are quoting or paraphrasing someone else, is considered a serious form of academic misconduct. Please ensure that you are familiar with the college’s rules, standards and guidelines regarding plagiarism. You can find information about these standards regarding plagiarism on the course syllabus, as well as the college website.
The criteria used for marking the essay are:
1. Is the question answered/prompt responded to explicitly, clearly, and plausibly? Is there an argument presented in the introduction and defended throughout the think-piece? So, don’t just repeat other people’s arguments, tell the reader what you think. For example, explain WHY you think that federalism leaves the country well suited to deal with a contemporary problem such as COVID-19. Do you identify counter-arguments to your own position and explain clearly why you reject that counter-argument?
2. Clarity, Organization, Structure. There should be a clear introduction, main argument and conclusion with good transitions between these sections. As the paper is very short, you should make every sentence count: i.e. does it answer the question and support your argument or address a counter-argument?
3. Evidence, including integration of class readings and other academic sources to back up your argument.
Anything that came up in class can be used; just tell us where you got the idea, argument or fact from (e.g. syllabus readings, lectures, tutorial discussions, and news stories discussed in tutorial). Anything from the syllabus, or a published academic source should be properly referenced, using APA or MLA references (see above). For any other material, include a footnote stating which week’s lecture or tutorial the material came from. If you are using another student’s argument, then include that student’s name.
The paper should be clearly written: grammatical, with correct spelling, and in short logical paragraphs. It should not go over the page limit and should follow the correct formatting (see above).
Using material to back up your argument doesn’t just mean describing what another author thinks about the topic. You should tell us your argument, then explain how your argument is supported by Author X’s argument. Or, alternatively, tell us your argument, explain how Author X raises a counter-argument, and then give reasons why you think your argument is right and Author X’s is wrong.
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