If a democracy means that as many people as possible should be able to wield some effect over our governments decision-making process then how can we get Americas political system closer to this goal? Some may argue that we can reach this goal by focusing on racial equality (that is, doing what is necessary to facilitate minority participation in the political process). Others may suggest that limiting the power and influence of interest groups is the key. Still others may argue that securing our Civil Liberties from national government infringement is the answer. The point here is there is no perfect answer or solution to this problem. All of these issues are important but for purposes of this paper I just want you to focus on one or two (or possibly three) items from the list above that you feel hold extra significance for advancing democracy in the United States. Keep in mind that it is perfectly normal in the process of researching scholarly articles and books for this paper that your argument will evolve. And in fact, expect this to happen. It just makes sense that as you familiarize yourself with your topic and come across more sources you will see how certain items from the list above complement each other. But do not feel pressured to have to account for everything. That is not the aim here. Boundary your argument around one to three items from the list above and simply find the scholarly articles and books that defend your particular thesis for improving our countrys democratic system.
Formatting the Research Paper Make Sure to Follow these Rules!
There are some basic rules that you must follow for writing a proper Research Paper. Firstly, make sure that your paper is double-spaced, includes page numbers, and is written in 12 point Times New Roman font. Make sure to include a basic cover page with your name, the section number of our course (which is section 23110), and also on this cover page create a title for your research paper and lastly dont forget to list the particular items that your paper ended up focusing on for its argument about advancing democracy.
Secondly, remember that this paper must be 5-7 pages in length. This page range does not include the Cover Page nor the Bibliography Page that must be included at the end of your paper. So make sure that you have written a legitimate 5-7 pages of text. If you have to, you may go over 7 pages but writing under 5 pages will certainly lower your grade.
Thirdly, remember that this is a research paper so avoid using the first person and do not use I, our, or we anywhere in this paper. In a comparative literature class that may be acceptable but in a social science class the focus is on your argumentation and the evidence that you bring to bear to defend your thesis. So only write in the third person for this paper and keep the readers attention on your paraphrasing of scholarly information that will illuminate the persuasiveness of your thesis.
Fourthly, avoid plagiarism and do your own work. Remember that a research paper requires that you paraphrase the ideas of other scholars and sources in order to show how your thesis holds argumentative weight. To paraphrase means to REWRITE ENTIRELY IN YOUR OWN WORDS the ideas, concepts, or information that you are using from other sources. Specifically, immediately after you have paraphrased some content you must place an APA in-text citation right after the sentence or paragraph that you just paraphrased. Let me be a little clearer here. You dont have to place an in-text citation after every sentence but perhaps after every discrete paragraph it would be wise to indicate what sources you just used for that particular paragraphs paraphrasing. For instruction on APA in-text citation mechanics please see the three documents on APA mechanics that I have placed under the Files tab through the resources subfolder in our Canvas course shell (one document explains APA mechanics for beginners and another document is an actual example of a completed paper using APA in-text citations). You can also simply google the website Purdue Owl and access the APA formatting guide available on this site. Trust me, I realize that many of you may not be familiar with APA mechanics so just do your best at applying these in-text citations within your paper. That is the aim here to give reasonable accountability to the sources that influenced your argumentation. Remember that the stronger papers avoid falling into the trap of simply commentating or editorializing. Rather, the superior papers draw on quality sources to develop their arguments and do their best to account for these sources by applying APA in-text citations along with a Reference List page at the end of the paper.
Another small point to raise here is not to overburden your paper with unnecessary quotes. No more than 5% of your papers analysis should be constituted from quotes so only use quotes if you see that the precise wording of another scholar may serve to enhance an important point that you are attempting to make. Remember that if you decide to quote from another source you must also include the page number (or paragraph stanza) in your APA in-text citation (along with the last name of the author and the year of the source). However, when you are merely paraphrasing (and not quoting) then it is only necessary to include the last name of the author and the year in your APA in-text citation. Refer to the APA documents on our Canvas site or the website Purdue Owl for more guidance on these issues (But just try your best here, that is all I ask).
The organizational structure of this paper is pretty straightforward. Your paper should begin with an introductory paragraph that introduces the topic of the paper and also clearly states the argument (or thesis) that you will be defending in this paper. Remember to write your paper entirely in the 3rd Person. Your introductory paragraph should be roughly half a page to three quarters of a page in length. Next is the body of your paper (as you likely learned in high school) and this section of your paper should be the most extensive because here is where you are defending your thesis by drawing on scholarly sources that will provide information to support the claims of your thesis. Obviously here in the body of the paper is where I expect to see most of your APA in-text citations. Also keep in mind that the body of your paper should be written through multiple paragraphs so take time to organize this section of the paper carefully, using your scholarly sources strategically to defend your central thesis.
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