Public Policy Essay

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Public Policy Essay

This essay is a chance for students to explore a public policy topic touched on or neglected in class. This topic should be as narrow as possible in order to give greater depth and clarity. Students will do research from scholarly sources and cite them using Chicago style. The essay should be about 6-9 pages (including footnote citations).


  • Choose topic: Feb 1/2

  • Annotated Bibliography: Feb 18/19

  • Essay Due: March 15/16

Overview: Your essay will be divided into five sections. Students can feel free to have some variation as the needs of their essay permits. Further details can be found on the rubric page.

  • Background is an introduction to the policy. Give background information, demonstrate the importance of the topic to the readers, and include a thesis that aligns with your application section. Give a history of the policy and why the policy was created.

  • The details is the discussion of the specifics of the policy, its implementation, and its extent or limitations. This section will demonstrate your understanding of the policy itself.

  • The effects section will show what happened as a result of the policy. Use systems theory of inputs, outputs, and feedback as a guide. Focus of how it has affected the political system and society.

  • The comparison section will compare the results of the policy to another country that we are studying. You can use either most similar or most different approach in your analysis.

  • The application section is the conclusion. It will bring the ideas together and should help you make an analysis of the policy. Make a recommendation of any changes that should be made or things that can be learned from this policy.

Topics: Choose from one of these topics or one of your choosing.

  • UK: devolution to local gov’ts, alternate voting systems, gay marriage, Fox Hunting Ban, immigration/emigration, maternity leave, pension, renegotiating with EU, green technology, regulation of the tabloids, reforming quangos, austerity, Scottish Independence

  • Russia: Gay rights, alcoholism, anti-NGO law, foreign adoption, reliance on natural resources, protest registration, abortion, declining population, flat tax policy, rights of the accused, relationship with neighboring countries, Orthodox Church, Sochi Olympics

  • China: sex trafficking, forced abortions, corruption at the top vs bottom, death penalty, currency valuation/manipulation, environmental regulations, Internet Great Firewall, migration, care of the elderly, infrastructure projects: dams/trains, house churches, microblogging, mass line, Hong Kong, Taiwan

  • Mexico: combating obesity, Amerindian rights, military and federal police in drug fighting, immigration/emigration, role of the Catholic Church, food subsidies, media monopolies, no reelection, NAFTA, reporting crime, PEMEX

  • Nigeria: water contamination, anti-corruption, fuel subsidies, shari’a law in the north, HIV/AIDs, Microcredit, ethnic rotation, use of military against Boko Haram, structural adjustment from World Bank, child and maternal health, relationship with ECOWAS

  • Iran: drug abuse, criminal punishments (Shari’a law), religious foundations, voting age, marriage/divorce law, nuclear power, sex education and family planning, crackdown on the Green Movement, education for women, minority religions, role of the Kurds

Sources: Students will get their sources from professional and academic sources. Students can use the work of journalists as long as they are of higher caliber (i.e. Foreign Affairs, Economist, New York Times). Students must use at least one source from a professional or academic journal. Finally, students must use at least one primary source: interview, released official document, speech, or official statistics. In all, there should be 7-10 sources used. The annotated bibliography will include all of your sources put in Chicago style citations each with two to three sentence descriptions of how sources will be used.

Citations: Students will use Chicago Style (Documentary note) citations. This style of citation is the most prevalent in humanities, social sciences, and history. Students will footnote1 their sources instead of doing a bibliography (to do this go to References, Insert Footnote). You will only need footnotes for this essay so you will not need a bibliography. Here are some sites that will help you with your citations:

1 Stephen Hairgrove. "How to Cite Chicago Style." AP Comp Gov Magazine, January 14, 2014. (accessed January 28, 2014).

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