What are involved in these papers?
For each paper, choose one motion. Choose to argue for or against the motion. You have 3 pages (double spaced) to make your case.
What should I include in these papers?
You should start with an introduction that lays out the motion, provides some background, and then closes with a clear thesis statement that lays out a) what side you are taking, and b) why. A good thesis might read, “I am arguing in favor of/against the motion because a, b, and c.”
A good way to organize your paper would be with one paragraph for each argument you are making for or against the motion. Organization is very important here; you want your reader to able to follow your points clearly.
Make sure you also address counterarguments. An effective paper will also be able to address possible criticisms of your argument. In other words, don’t just pretend that counterarguments don’t exist.
Make sure you have a conclusion, summarizing your points.
Make sure you cite, when appropriate readings from class. You are also free to muster facts and arguments from elsewhere; just make sure you cite the sources appropriately.
Do not argue against certain motions because of the logistics involved. For example, if you want to argue against Motion 6 (that the US should adopt parliamentarism), don’t argue that to do so would be too expensive, and it would never happen anyways, because it would be too hard to change the constitution. Instead, argue about why presidentialism is good, and alternatives are bad.
How will the papers be graded?
You will earn between 0 and 100 on each paper. Points will be allocated as follows:
1) Clarity of arguments made in favor of/against motion (25 points)
Are the arguments clear, understandable, and serve to further the author’s case for or against the motion?
2) Comprehensiveness of arguments (20 points)
Do the arguments cover sufficient ground? Do they leave out one or more very important points for/against the motion?
3) Dealing with counterarguments (15 points)
Does the author acknowledge counterarguments, and address them effectively?
4) Coherence of arguments (15 points)
Do the arguments all work in favor of/against the motion? Or do they contradict one another?
5) Evidence of research & preparation (15 points)
Does the paper reference course readings and materials, when appropriate? Does it back up its assertions with any facts?
6) Paper organization (10 points)
Does the paper “flow” clearly from point to point?