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Early American Government Essay Rubric Examples

University of ,

Political Science 12: American Politics and Government
Term Paper Assignment - Winter 2018

Term Paper Proposal Requirements

The Term Paper Proposalis intended to help you get started. Briefly describe your topic, sketch out the approach you will take (e.g., you will draw on your knowledge of public opinion and congressional behavior to show why Congress will (or will not) make changes in immigration law), present a tentative outline, and identify three or more academic sources for your paper. The outline should consist of a series of section headings, each one followed by one or more short paragraphs describing the argument or information to be presented in the section. The bibliography should include the sources of information that you will use in the paper. You must use all relevant material in the Political Science 12 required readings, and you must use at least 3-5 academic sources in addition to those in the Political Science 12 syllabus. The thesis/research statement should be 1-2 double-spaced pages.

Term Paper Requirements

Your paper should have a clear thesis stated on the first page.An example of a typical thesis might be: “Advocates of increased immigration should take three steps to win passage of legislation to achieve their goal.The first step is …. The second step is ….”In the body of your paper, you should describe the strategies (what the political actors should do) and, using theories covered in lectures and readings, explain why they should work.The explanation of why things work as they do is a critical part of the paper assignment.

Your paper should include a theoretical analysis of some aspect of your problem. That is, your paper should use theories (general causal explanations) in the academic literature to explain what causes what. You should not merely describe problems, events, etc. A good strategy for writing a theoretical paper is to have a clear thesis statement near the beginning of the paper which includes causal statements.

Your paper should cite all relevant readings in the PS 12 syllabus. That is, if one of the required readings makes a point relevant to the subject of your paper, we expect you to cite that reading in your paper and integrate it into your analysis.

Your paper should use at least three academic sources in addition to those in the course syllabus for Political Science 12. By "academic sources" we mean articles published in peer-reviewed, academic journals or books that are either written by university faculty or published by university presses. Be careful not merely to cite the sources in your reference section. By "use" sources, we mean that they should be explicitly cited and discussed in the body of your paper.

Your paper may also use government reports, interest groups publications, news stories, or web pages as sources. You should keep in mind that interest group publications and web sites may present selective or misleading information in order to persuade readers to agree with them.

We discourage the use of Wikipedia and other on-line encyclopedias.Because Wikipedia may be edited by the public, entries are sometimes slanted or biased in ways similar to the ways in which interest groups slant the information they provide.Wikipedia is a good source for citations, but it cannot be considered an authoritative source of information.

Your paper should not spend much time writing about the details of immigration reform (or any other law or policies).  In the first section on the reading list, I use a slide that describes the DREAM Act in a single sentence.  That is sufficient.  We don’t want you to spend paragraphs or pages describing the details of proposed immigration reform policies (if that is the topic you choose).  We want you to describe the proposed reform briefly and spend your time presenting a strategy for passing the law and explaining why your strategy should work using the theories we have discussed in the class.  For example, you could discuss the collective action problem that activists face when they try to organize a political campaign to pass the act.  Or you could describe a protest strategy that seeks to get the issue into the news, a strategy which agenda setting theory addresses. 

Your paper should not spend time explaining and justifying your opinions. If you want to pass or defeat the DREAM Act, just say so and move on.  We won’t give you any credit for laying out a passionate, well-reasoned defense of your opinion.  We want to know what you would do to pass/defeat the proposed reform and why you think your strategy will work according to one of the theories we have discussed in class. 

You do not have to argue the side which you personally support.  Like a good lawyer, you should be able to develop a good paper favoring any side in the debate. Which side you choose to argue will have no bearing on your grade.

Your paper should be 8-10 pages plus footnotes. It should be double-spaced with reasonable margins (e.g., 1-1/4") and printed in font size 11 or 12. Footnotes and citations must be in a standard reference form (e.g., ). If you are not familiar with standard reference styles, see Diana Hacker's A Pocket Style Manual.The UCSB library also has an online Chicago Manual of Style.Please number the pages. You may cite PS 12 lectures as sources.

For the paper due date, please see the syllabus. You should submit your paper electronically on the Gauchospace class web page. You may, of course, submit your paper before the deadline.

Late papers will be accepted, but there is a penalty for late papers. The penalty is 1/3 of a grade for each 2 days, up to 1-2/3 grade off if the paper is ten or more days late.If your paper will be late, please contact your Teaching Assistant or me to discuss it. In some cases, late-paper penalties may be reduced or waived.

Paper Topics

  • Topic A. Suppose you were a political consultant assigned the task of designing a strategy to deal with a proposal on some aspect of immigration reform other than the DREAM Act or DACA program.Write an essay in which you describe and then analyze either: (a) a strategy to increase legal immigration, or (b) a strategy to decrease legal immigration. You need not address all the major areas discussed in this class--public opinion, parties, interest groups, Congress, the president, the bureaucracy, and the courts--but you should address two or more of them. In your essay, be sure to analyze your strategy as well as describe it. That is, explain why it should work using theories and concepts covered in class.
  • Topic B. Write an essay in which you present an analysis predicting the future of some aspect of immigration reform other than the DREAM Act or DACA over the next 5-10 years and justifying your predictions. You can choose a narrow aspect of immigration reform or a broader aspects such as comprehensive immigration reform. You need not address all the major areas discussed in this class--public opinion, parties, interest groups, Congress, the president, the bureaucracy, and the courts--but you should address two or more of them. In your essay, be sure to analyze your strategy as well as describe it. That is, explain why it should work using theories and concepts covered in class.


Papers will be graded on the quality of the arguments (especially theoretical arguments) you present, the evidence you muster to support your arguments (including the number and relevance of your academic sources), and your skill in writing. You may, of course, present personal opinions, but your opinions (i.e., which side you take in any controversy) will have no influence on your grade.The following rubric will be used to grade your papers.






Strong clear thesis that offers explanation for simulation examples, connections clear throughout

Good thesis, most parts of paper connect to thesis, attempts made to show connections

Thesis is not present or not clear, paper does not follow thesis

Argument/argument structure

Argument to support thesis made throughout paper is particularly well thought out, the structure of paper is logical, clear, explicit, stylistic

Argument to support thesis is correct and well thought out, the structure of argument is logical, clear, explicit

Argument to support thesis is present but structure of argument neither logical, clear nor explicit

Lacking an argument to support thesis or coherent structure of argument

Use of Theory & evidence

Should use a theory to explain or predict case and present evidence to support argument.

Theory used to explain or predict case, but sometimes lacking clear evidence

Missing theoretical claim and/or evidence

Readability and Spelling/Grammar

Paper was overall very readable, varied sentence structure, logical paragraph breaks with very little spelling or grammatical errors

Paper was readable with only a few instances of awkward phrasing with few grammatical errors

Paper was difficult to read and/or had a number of spelling and grammatical errors


Plagiarism Warning

Let me remind you about the use, or lack of use, of quotation marks and citations: The Campus Regulations have the following to say about plagiarism: "Representing the words, ideas, or concepts of another person without appropriate attribution is plagiarism. Whenever another person's written work is utilized, whether it be a single phrase or longer, quotation marks must be used and sources cited. Paraphrasing another's work, i.e., borrowing the ideas or concepts and putting them into one's 'own' words, must also be acknowledged." In addition, submitting the same paper to two classes is also considered cheating because the work is not original for both classes. Any act of plagiarism or other form of cheating will be rewarded with an automatic "F" and referral to the administration for further punishment.

The standard punishment for plagiarism is a two-quarter suspension from U.C. Santa Barbara. In addition, upper-division students convicted of plagiarism have the conviction noted on their permanent transcript. Anyone reading the transcript (e.g., a law school or graduate school admissions committee, or a potential employer) will know that you been convicted of cheating.

There is a simple way to avoid plagiarism. Put the words you take from another source and add a footnote citing the source. Or you can paraphrase them and add a footnote citing the source. If you paraphrase a section, you still need the footnote. Aside from avoiding plagiarism problems, this can actually improve your grade because it shows that you did additional research.

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- Второе, что никогда не ставилось под сомнение, - это чутье Мидж.  - Идем, - сказала она, вставая.  - Выясним, права ли. Бринкерхофф проследовал за Мидж в ее кабинет. Она села и начала, подобно пианисту-виртуозу, перебирать клавиши Большого Брата.

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