Paper 1: Explain the emergence and evolution of a US federal environmental policy, in terms of general characteristics of environmental policy making
Your explanation should draw on general dynamics and/or concepts in policy we have discussed (e.g. stages of policy making, policy entrepreneurs, etc.) as well as the specific historical factors that have shaped the policy you choose (e.g. some impending election, national economic condition, etc.). In most cases the specificities of your case will be related to the dynamics and concepts we’ve encountered, and you should identify the correspondence between them whenever you can.On the other hand, you might find crucial particular factors in your case that do not correspond to the general dynamics and concepts of which we have read.If so, you should point those particularities out and make an argument for how they are both important and different from the general types that appear in the syllabus readings.
Sources: Your paper should use more than one of the syllabus readings and at least one other source. It should also engage with specific provisions of the policy framework you’ve chosen. The latter should provide part of the basis for your analysis.
Length: The rigor of thought in your paper is more important than its length, but it will probably need to be between 5 and 7 pages, at 12-point font, 1.5 spacing, and 1 inch margins, excluding references, to adequately address this prompt. Please do not include peripheral or extraneous material just to fill pages. For instance, you do not need to address every dynamic/concept mentioned in the readings. Please also number your pages.
Approaching your paper
I suggest you consider following the following steps as you develop your paper:
- Choose a policy framework. If you write on one of the policies about which we’ve read, you must go beyond the syllabus readings in you analysis, e.g. by expanding with more specificity in some area of interest to you, and/or by considering the role of some dynamic(s) and/or concept(s) the readings did not address for your policy.
- Identify key moments, actors, and events in the emergence and evolution of the policy. Doing this may require you to use a source beyond the syllabus readings.
- Identify general dynamics and/or concepts we’ve encountered that shed light on the moments, actors, and events from step (2). I suggest you limit your focus to between 1 and 3 dynamics/concepts.
- Structure your paper to explain (2) in terms of (3). Your paper should make a clear argument, apparent from the introduction, rather than leaving key insights for the end. (This is a reminder to use the “academic” rather than the “murder mystery” narrative style.) Make your understanding of the dynamic(s)/concept(s) you choose to use clear to your reader. You can think of a well-structured academic paper as an elegant machine; it may be nice to look at (i.e. read), but primarily it does a job. Each element of the paper is there only because it contributes to the central goal of the paper, which is to demonstrate a clear argument about the chosen topic.
You should cite and reference all sources using a consistent scholarly format (e.g. APA or another standard style), both inline and in a bibliography. Please note that UIS adheres to a strict policy against plagiarism, which impels significant consequences.
In evaluating your writing, I will look for clarity and rigor. I will also expect you to adhere to the standards of academic/professional prose. In most cases this means developing a clear argument that drives the entirety of the paper, and avoiding informal language, unacknowledged speculation, and overgeneralization. Grammar and other formal aspects of writing can serve or detract from those aims. While form and content are therefore linked, I will emphasize content in grading.