Infrastructure Development and Funding
Identifying the Issue
The purpose of the paper is to identify and address a federal issue between the US government and Texas state government. This requires examining the history, application and effectiveness of laws at both levels.
Choose one of the following topics:
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- Infrastructure development and funding
- Disaster management and funding
- Federal oversight of special education in Texas
- Environmental policy and air pollution control permitting
- Environmental policy and deep-water drilling
- Unaccompanied migrant children in state shelters
- Effects of redistricting on minority voter turnout in Texas
- Death penalty and intellectual disabilities
- Security of state elections from foreign interference
Step 2 – Gathering Sources
Conduct research to locate three academic journal articles (aka: peer-reviewed or scholarly sources) that specifically address the policy issues that you selected and meet the following criteria:
- The articles must be no more than ten (10) years old.
- The article must have more than five (5) pages of actual content (without graphs, charts, footnotes, citations, etc.).
- Books, dissertations, and theses will not count toward the scholarly source minimum requirements.
Carefully choose sources that provide a variety of perspectives on your selected topic. In addition to the minimum research requirements, you should use high quality sources for essential current events information relevant to your topic. These include academic sources that are not peer-reviewed (position papers), newspaper articles, magazine articles, and other quality or reputable sources.
The course textbook, encyclopedias (including Wikipedia), and almanacs, are reference materials and are not to be listed as sources at the college level.
Step 3 – The Proposal
Submit a one to two page proposal to the appropriate dropbox by the date specified in the course calendar. The proposal should:
- Identify the topic in one or two paragraphs:
- Summarize the central issues of the policy topic you will be addressing
- Describe the current status of the policy or topic as it relates to the differing roles and/or positions of the federal and state governments
- Describe why this policy is important to Texas and the United States
- Cite each of your academic journal articles (not supplemental sources) at least once in the paragraph using correct MLA in-text citations.
- Include the Works Cited or Reference section with the three (at a minimum) peer-reviewed academic journal articles that will form the basis of your policy paper.
- These three references must be cited in the final policy paper.
- Additional sources can be added (and should if a good grade is desired), but they cannot be removed without permission after the proposal is approved.
- In-text citations and the Works Cited or Reference section must be formatted using MLA citation style. Other MLA formatting elements (e.g. header, page number format, etc.) are not used in this assignment.
- Do not use block quotations (or any quotation that exceeds three lines of text) or first person in the proposal or final policy paper!
References provided in the proposal cannot be changed at a later date without approval (see Step 4 below).
An example of a good policy proposal is provided in eCampus.
A fundamental expectation of college writing is that all key arguments, facts, assertions and claims are supported with research (i.e. parenthetical citations). When a source has been cited, you are expected to acknowledge the source in the body of your text and on a Works Cited page using formal MLA citation format. The paper must be completed using the formatting guidelines provided in the syllabus as “Guidelines for all Coursework.”
I do not allow students to recycle or use essays from other courses. You must receive consent from me in order to do so and you will need to provide a solid justification. Please do not simply submit an assignment that you’ve used in another course as it will not be accepted unless approved.
Revise and Resubmit Policy
The purpose of the proposal process is for your instructor to confirm that 1) you have selected three appropriate academic journal articles, 2) that you have selected an appropriate topic, and 3) that you are able to correctly cite your sources. Additionally, it allows your instructor to give you feedback on your writing (grammar, sentence composition, punctuation, and spelling) as well as your use of proper MLA citation formatting.
Should you submit a proposal that does not meet the minimum assignment requirements, you will be asked to “revise and resubmit” the proposal. In such cases, a minimum letter grade deduction is always applied to the resubmitted assignment. The instructor will inform you of the due date and conditions of resubmission.
The Revise and Resubmit applies only to policy proposals that are submitted by the due date. Only one “Revise and Resubmit” will be offered. Failure to resubmit the revision before the provided due date, or failure to correct the identified issues in need of revision, will result in a zero for the proposal grade. More seriously, students that do not successfully complete the proposal assignment are in high danger of failing the course if their policy paper topic and sources do not meet minimum requirements.
Step 4 – The Policy Paper
Prepare a formal research paper regarding the selected policy. The assignment must be between 5-8 pages excluding quotations, cover page, and Works Cited page(s).
The essay should address the following:
- An introduction and brief overview of the policy topic.
- What are the major issues facing each level of government?
- What are the reasons for initiating changes to the policy?
- What are the options to be considered (discuss several)?
- What are the pros and cons of each potential reform (costs v. benefits)?
- Which is the best option moving forward (pick one)?
- A summary and conclusion
Do not use first person in the proposal or final policy paper!
The paper body must be a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 8 full pages in body length, double-spaced. No more and no less is necessary for this activity. Keep direct quotes to a minimum; do not use block quotations. All key arguments, facts, assertions, and claims must be supported with research. The references approved in the policy proposal must be used in the policy paper: you may add additional sources (and should if you seek an A on the assignment), but you must seek approval from the instructor at least 72 hours before the policy paper due date if you intend to change any of the scholarly sources approved in the proposal.
There will be no opportunity to revise and resubmit this assignment. Failure to meet the minimum research and writing requirements will result in a zero for the entire assignment (no partial credit will be awarded as this is a formal institutional assessment). A zero on this assignment will result in a failing grade for the course.
Finally, add a cover page and include the References (also known as Works Cited) page at the end. Submit all pages together as one file to the assignment dropbox.