They are designed to get you to further develop skills in several areas – to do independent research; to enhance your critical thinking skills; to achieve a better knowledge base of Western political thought; to develop strong, evidence based, and coherent arguments in support of your thesis; to more objectively evaluate all sides of a research question, argument, or issue; and to develop writing skills and organization that effectively communicate your thesis and arguments. The paper questions are directly related to the Western tradition of political philosophy. General Format Information and Advice Paper length should be 8 to 12 pages double spaced; title page, main body, citations, and worked cited (bibliography). The general structure of the paper should include an introductory paragraph (a descriptive account of the question to be answered; why is it relevant?); a clear thesis statement (your answer to the question; tell the reader what you are going to attempt to prove in this paper in summary form); the main body of the paper consisting of your arguments and evidence; and a conclusion. You need to do independent research beyond our class book and consult other scholarly books and articles. A minimum of 4 sources (not including our required class text) must be consulted. You will be allowed only one conventional Internet encyclopedia or website source for your paper. A bibliography of Wikipedia sources is not acceptable as serious university level research. Analyze all sides of the issue, including arguments that contradict your thesis. Your main focus should be on the rationality of ideas, theories, and evidence, not justifying your personal ideology. A creative writing style should be able to capture the reader’s attention in the first paragraph and keep it throughout the paper. Sloppy errors in spelling, grammar, and sentence structure will undermine the credibility of your paper. Proofread your papers. Proper citations and a separate bibliography (works cited page) are required. You are free to choose whatever citation style that suits you. Just be consistent.
Cutting and pasting information from internet websites is not serious research and writing. Do your own writing. I am looking for clear, concise arguments linked to the research you have done. Anecdotal storytelling and ideological rhetoric (long rants) weaken your paper. Finally, turn your work in on time. Late papers will not be accepted without prior approval on my part (which requires a serious excuse). If I do grant a late paper extension, it will only be a one-time exemption for the entire semester.