I have included all the information below including Thesis statement information. Please read it in it’s entirety so there is no confusion.

Students will write a research/argumentative essay, 500-750 words in length, from the topic below. The purpose of the project is to give students an opportunity to discuss a key political science concept, and to show a basic understanding of academic research and reporting skills. The project consists of producing a 500-750 work essay on one of the provided topics (see below), as well as a works cited page for sources containing information used in the essay. The assignment is to be formatted according to the Modern Language Association (MLA) style. Students should research this style in order to properly format the assignment; papers not formatted properly will not receive a passing grade.

***Be sure to include a strong thesis statement (debatable claim) as a part of your introduction paragraph. Please see thesis statement information below.

Students should use Courier or New Courier 12 point as the paper’s font, double space the text, and create one inch margins on all four sides of the page. In addition, the assignment should be formatted according to MLA style for papers with no title page.

Writing Assignment Topic

What is the role of the people in the Texas political system?

Key areas to address include:

  • The role of public opinion, interest groups, and political parties;
  • The state and local election process;
  • Rights and responsibilities of citizens; and
  • Key issues and policies and political culture.

Writing a Government Research/Argumentative Essay

Thesis statement information

The Thesis Statement

The most important and most challenging task for students writing a research paper is developing a thesis. A thesis is a non-trivial, contestable, specific claim about political phenomena that can be proven or defended through the analysis of primary source material.

(1) Your thesis must be non-trivial

A reader will want evidence that you are exploring an important question or topic. Explorations of the unimportant (e.g., “Canada’s orange industry has been underappreciated”) will not entice any but the most insensate readers. Readers will recoil, in particular, from faux theses that merely state what the author has done (e.g., “I have researched the European Union’s trade policy”).

(2) Your thesis must be contestable

Do not seek to prove the obvious (e.g., African American voters disproportionately support Democratic candidates for the presidency). The best theses make counter-intuitive claims (e.g., revolutions often occur when conditions improve in a country after a long period of deprivation). There must be, at a minimum, alternative explanations for the phenomena you are exploring or different possible answers to the question you are posing. A good research paper directly engages these competing arguments by demonstrating that its explanation or answer is the most plausible.

(3) Your thesis must make a specific claim

A thesis should reference specific concepts and focus on a delimited field of inquiry. Statements such as “religion is the chief cause of conflict in the world,” “the International Criminal Court violates political sovereignty,” and “the Russian people always want a czar to lead them” are neither specific nor delimited. An example of a specific, focused thesis would be “Religious divisions cause social conflict to increase in Northern Ireland when they are reinforced by other cleavages or divisions.” This statement sports two concepts—social conflict and cross-cutting v. reinforcing cleavages—that the author must develop or support in order to address the influence of religion on conflict in a specific context.

 
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