Research Paper Assignment

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Research Paper Assignment

Choose one topic and complete at minimum 1200 word paper that includes appropriate citations and format.

Instructions for the Critical Thinking Research Paper

**** Choose your topic from the four listed on the Topics page back listed in this module ****

Once you select your topic and begin your research, you must draft your final document with the following directions as your guide:

  1. Your paper must be at least 1200 words.
  2. Type your name and date in the upper-left-hand corner on the first page of the paper. You do not need a title page and abstract.
  3. Double-spaced in 12pt font.
  4. The rewording of someone else’s work and submitting it as your work without giving credit to the author is plagiarism. Such work will not be graded. It will be returned for rewrite. If this occurs, you will be given one week to submit the rewrite. Any thoughts, passages, ideas, and words of another should be documented appropriately in parenthetical citations and a reference page. You must use the APA style for citing in paper and for the reference page. Refer to The Little, Brown Handbook for examples of the APA style. You can access APA citation style handouts online through the SPC library online Web site. To access a page of links and information on the APA citation style, go to the SPC library online Web site at SPC Libraries Online Click on the Citation Help link under I Need to Find on the left side of the page then click APA style at the top of the page.
  5. You must have at least five different sources cited in the paper. You must have parenthetical citations and at least five publications cited on the reference page. Papers without citations in the body and a reference page will receive a failing grade.
  6. Encyclopedias (World Book, Encyclopedia Britannica, and on-line encyclopedias) and Wikipedia are NOT acceptable as research sources. There are some reference books in the college library and in the eBook collection that have the word encyclopedia in the title you can use. You cannot cite material from commercial Web sites. Three of the sources you cite must come from databases SPC subscribes to through the SPC library online. If you submit a paper without references from databases, a significant point deduction will adversely affect your grade. To get to the databases, go to the SPC Libraries Online. Click articles/databases under I Need to Find on the left side of the page. On the page that comes up enter your borrower ID and pin. The page that comes up after you log on will have categories by subject for databases. You may want to start with Social Sciences.
  7. You cannot cite the American government textbook we are using.
  8. Personal interviews, statements on television, radio, and in videos or movies are not acceptable.
  9. If the paper is turned in short of the word requirement, or it receives a high matching percentage (over 50%) in the Turnitin Originality report it will automatically receive a failing grade or an automatic zero. No emailed papers will be accepted.

YOU MUST PROOF READ and SPELLCHECK your paper before you turn it in.

Failure to follow these instructions will result in your paper receiving a failing grade and points subtracted from your total number of accumulated points.

If you run in to problems with the assignment, please contact your instructor IMMEDIATELY via email before the posted due date.

You must submit the paper in word (doc or docx), rtf or pdf document format into the Research Paper Drop Box.


Research Paper Topics

Select one of the topics below.

Topic 1 – How does government affect your life? (Include all subtopics below in topic 1)

  • What are the spheres or levels (not the branches – more along the lines of local, state, national) of government in the American Democracy? List and explain each one – use your knowledge of Federalism to explain.
  • Define Federalism and explain why our founding fathers choose this arrangement. List and explain the arguments for and against federalism then and now. How close today is America to the founding fathers conception of federalism?
  • Think about an average day in your life. What are the various government actions surrounding your daily activities? What is the purpose of these government actions?
  • Do you think that the private sector could perform some of these actions or duties more efficiently? Explain why or why not.
  • Are there some government actions that you think are unnecessary? Which ones? Why should government get out of or stay in those areas?
  • Do you think most Americans understand the importance of government in their lives?

Topic 2 – How does a bill REALLY becomes a law?

Explain the process by which a bill becomes a law. Include a discussion on both chambers of Congress, the President’s role and discuss the role of congressional committees in the legislative process. Does the Judiciary have any role in the process or after the process is completed? Give an example of a major piece of legislation and discuss it from inception to its role in American Government today. In discussing the legislation, you must discuss where it originated (legislative or executive branch), why it was proposed, and what it was designed to accomplish.

Topic 3 – Accommodation or Agitation?

In the early 20th century African American leaders had to decide which path they were going to take to gain equality under the U.S. Constitution. Write a paper in which you discuss the civil rights movement from the perspective of agitation and accommodation. Discuss the merits and barriers of the policies of agitation and accommodation and accomplishments of both approaches.

Topic 4 – Should it be a winner-take-all system or proportional system of representation to elect members to Congress?

At every level of government in the United States we use the winner-take-all electoral system. Scholars suggest this is one reason why two political parties dominate in American elections.

Write a paper in which you discuss the winner-take-all system. Should the winner-take-all system be abolished and replaced with a proportional system of representation? If yes, why? If no, why not? Make sure to discuss the advantages and drawbacks of each system. Do not discuss the presidential election process. Do not discuss the Electoral College. Focus your discussion on congressional districts.

Grading Rubric for Course Writing






Minimum Requirements

To Achieve


The paper does everything in the B paper and it shows a synthesis of the topic with the concepts from American National Government.

The paper does everything in the C paper but includes original evaluation of the material and makes nearly all of the main points from the course material.

Paper is organized, references course material, and includes well thought out ideas.

Some thoughts are related to the discussion and some course material is mentioned or alluded to. There appears to be an attempt at structure and organization.

The writing example shows little effort, poor organization, and no incorporation of course material. Thoughts are incomplete and not always relevant to the topic.

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