BIG IDEA PROMPT: Most citizens do not have well-formed ideologies or issue positions.

You will do the Issue Analysis paper – I’ll provide the big idea on the
other pdf
Analyze a policy topic, using insights from class, in a well-structured
essay of approximately 500-700 words. You should follow one of these two
formats: Big Ideas Choose a hot policy issue. Analyze it through the lens of
one of the “big ideas” from the lecture. A running list of big ideas will be
kept on D2L. For example, you could use the idea that group identity is
central to public opinion to craft a thesis such as: “I argue that public
opinion regarding COVID policy is explained by identity-driven differences
rather than by well-informed preferences over policy outcomes.”
BIG IDEA PROMPT: Most citizens do not have well-formed ideologies or
issue positions.
You can find information about most citizens do not have well-formed
ideologies or issue positions. In slide 22
-Approximately 500-700 words; less if you’re concise, more if you
have something to say. The important thing is that you write a paper
that adequately makes your argument. Don’t fill space or cut just to
meet a word-count requirement.
-All essays require course material, and some require – or at least
would benefit from – outside sources. There are no minimum numbers
for outside sources, so use as many as you need to make your
argument convincingly. For example, a Big Ideas Issue Analysis will
need several high-quality outside sources, whereas a Friday CoolDown Issue Analysis may only need the required commentary.
-Navigate the Internet with care. Part of your grade is determined by
the quality of your sources. See below for further guidelines.
-If a fact or idea did not come from your brain or my mouth, you must
cite its source. This is a two-step process: 1) identify the cited
passage within the text (parenthetical or footnote #), and then give
sufficient information so that I can find the source if desired (in a
footnote or works
cited page). I have no preference for particular styles (MLA, APA,
Chicago, etc.) – just be consistent.
-The best essays will be tightly organized around a concise thesis,
with every subsequent paragraph flowing from it. Following directions
and using course concepts accurately are paramount in the grading
rubric, along with flawless spelling/grammar and clear organization.
-Make an argument in your thesis. That doesn’t mean a mere
unsubstantiated opinion; it means making an original observation
about your topic and developing and defending it with logic and
There is a lot of garbage on the Internet, so it is vital to be a careful
consumer of information. News reports are likely to be your most
common sources. Most major news outlets can be
trusted – but you need to know the difference between straight
(neutral) news and opinion/commentary. Analyzing commentary is
required for the Friday Cool-Down variety of Issue Analysis. For other
types of papers, though, it is ok to use commentary as an example of
liberal or conservative opinion on an issue, but not as the source of
factual assertions. The Media Bias Chart is a good place to check the
credibility of your sources (zoom in to see the individual names, and
use the search function if you don’t see your source’s icon). For
straight news, you should stay within the green box. Be aware,
though, that most of those outlets have commentary as well, so try to
figure out whether what you’re reading is someone’s opinion or a
neutral telling of a factual story. If you’re quoting something because
it’s opinion, then you may stray outside the green box – but try to
avoid the junk outlets in the lower-left and lower-right corners. Some
of the best analysis comes from political scientists or scientifically
literate data journalists.
I would recommend the following sites:
-The Monkey Cage (poli sci, all topics)
-Mischiefs of Faction (poli sci, mostly about parties and elections)
-FiveThirtyEight (high-quality data journalism)
-Vox (mixed quality – but their articles about political science research
are excellent)
For the best analysis of public opinion, I would recommend searching
the Pew Research site. For academic research, you should use TCU
library databases (I recommend “Political Science Complete”) or
Google Scholar to find published articles in scholarly journals. They
tend to be dense, but even one or two citations of them can make a
good paper excellent. You’ll also find many links to them in Monkey
Cage, FiveThirtyEight, and Vox articles.

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