CRJU 2000 Constitutional Issues
Winter 2016 Research Paper
Below are instructions for how the Constitutional Issues research papers should be written.
Purpose, Deadlines, and Formatting
For the term research paper you need to identify a significant Constitutional law related topic or issue (it must involve crime in some fashion), identify the reason why you think that the issue is important, frame the issue(s) to be researched, identify the relevant sources, research and analyze the issues presented, and communicate the solution (or recommended response) to the problem. The paper should not be an abstract one, should not merely be describing some aspect of Constitutional law but one that identifies and analyzes an actual or potential issue or problem. This, of necessity, requires creativity, not mere regurgitation of something you read up. I expect you to prioritize literature and events that relate to or impact Florida.
To avoid redundancy and similarity of topics among students, you must submit at least TWO alternate topics to me. I (not you) will then select the topic for you to research. The alternative topics for paper 1 should be emailed to me (not to everyone) through course messages on Blackboard by March 13th. Please note you also have to submit a thesis statement along with 7 references by March 27th. Remember that the paper has to be submitted online in the Assignment Drop Box by 11:59PM on April 17th.
When you write your paper it is imperative that you also demonstrate your awareness of opposing or alternative ideas or approaches to the problem, and then explain why you think that your proposed approach is the most appropriate. Your paper must use APA formatting ONLY. The NSU library site has links to APA tutorials. Failure to follow APA guidelines will lower your grade.
The paper should be double spaced, properly formatted, and the body of the paper not be shorter than the stipulated number of pages, (in this case, 8-eight). Cover, abstract, reference pages, etc. do not count for purposes of the length of paper. It must have pagination (pages should be consecutively numbered at the bottom-in Word click on the Insert icon on the top masthead to insert page numbers.) You should have at least eight references from academic journals/texts (i.e. equal to the number of pages required for the paper). Wikipedia is NOT an academic source. All and any references from the course texts will together only count as one, so you need to get external references.
Finally, I also want you to certify that this is your own original work, and further that it is not going to be, nor has it previously been submitted, for credit for another course anywhere else. If, using the tools available to me, (including Turnitin.com, to which you must submit your paper) I find out that this is not your own work, for instance, that you have purchased it online, or copied it off somewhere, you will not get credit for the paper, and I will be forced to initiate disciplinary proceedings commensurate with University Policy.
Format and Set-up of the Paper
Introduce the topic; explain why it’s an important topic to research. State opinion on the topic; in other words, whether you agree or disagree with the said main thesis of the topic and why. To put it another way, write a thesis statement. This section should be approximately ½ a page (1-2 paragraphs).
1. Present arguments, through research, for arguments both for and against the topic.
a. Should present 4 to 5 major points for each argument (otherwise paper becomes unbalanced).
b. Explain arguments fully. In other words, do not simply state arguments. Defend, elaborate, and cite sources.
c. This section should be the crux of the paper.
2. Conclusion. Restate thesis (opinion).
a. Determine whether thesis is valid based on the information presented in the paper.
b. If your thesis has changed, explain why it has changed (using points put forth in your paper). This section should be ~1/2 page to a page.
3. Your paper must have the necessary References, in APA.
Below are writing requirements for a college level course research paper*.
1. Know and honor the difference between plural and possessive forms.
2. Know and honor noun-verb agreements (in number); pronoun-noun agreements (do not use the word “their,” for example, to refer back to the noun “person”).
3. Know and honor the difference between complete sentences and sentence fragments; conversely, avoiding run-on sentences and those which contain comma splices.
4. Use paragraphs and indent the first line of each new paragraph.
5. Ordinarily, use the simple past tense in your writing. Avoid shifts in tense, such as from present to past tense in the same sentence or paragraph, unless they are necessary for clarity.
6. Know and honor the difference between “its” “it’s” and “its”; “too”, “to” and “two”, and “their”, “they’re” and “there”. The spelling checker on your computer will not recognize when you have used these words in the wrong context.
7. Vary the way you begin your sentences, and vary the length of them as well. Your writing will be soporific otherwise.
8. Punctuation creates a sound in the reader’s mind and should therefore be used wisely. Review the correct use’ of the comma, semi-colon, colon, quotation mark, question mark, dash and hyphen. Eschew the use of the exclamation point (ordinarily, only one is used in any context): let your words themselves convey any intended excitement. Commas do not belong after the subject of a sentence, as in:
-I, just wrote a sentence.
-The Challenger, exploded shortly after its launch.
9. Write in the third person, leaving your reactions and responses out. Rather, try to create a sensation in the reader, either through the judicious use of description or the weight of evidence carefully presented.
10. Double space between lines and paragraphs, and use at least a 12-point font.
11. Eliminate, as much as possible, the following weak verbs:
-Be, was, being, been, is, are, were, am, appear, become, continue, look, remain, seem, shine, sound, smell, taste, and their various tenses (“have been”, etc.)
-The verb is the most important word in any sentence. Choose it carefully.
12. Know how to form plurals and possessives (see #1, above)
13. Know and honor the standard spellings of commonly used words, as well as the correct use of capital letters.
14. Writing is not speech; while it has become common practice to slur the pronunciations of words, this practice is unacceptable in writing. Always use the correct forms as in the following cases:
-Could have rather than “could’ve” or, worse, “could of”
-“Scientists have discovered…” rather than “scientist have discovered…”
-“This person is biased” rather than “this person is bias”.
15. Avoid anything that sounds colloquial: “First off”; “Often times” (“First” or “often” will do).
The above constitute writing skills which you should have mastered by fifth grade.
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