Consider any important and controversial current issue in public policy.

Self-Reflection and Policy Formulation Development

Consider any important and controversial current issue in public policy. Write an exploratory research paper that describes your own search for a personal answer to how to resolve this issue. Begin by sharing with the reader why this particular issue is important to you based on what you’ve experienced in your life and a reflection on where you stood on this public policy issue before you began your research, and why. (Being confused or uncertain is OK!) Then write a first-person, reflective narrative of your thinking process as you investigated this issue by researching the public policy literature, talking with classmates, coworkers, and friends and drawing on your own personal experiences, memories, and observations. Write about how this public policy issue has been handled and how you think it should be handled differently.

Your narrative should include a summary of a few public policy articles (targeting either academic researchers or public policy practitioners), followed by your own intellectual wrestling with each article’s theories/ideas. By the end of your paper, summarize how your ideas evolved during your process of research and reflection. The quality of your exploration and thinking processes will significantly influence your grade. In other words, your goal is not to take a stand on this public policy issue, but to provide a nuanced report of your cognitive process of wrestling with it.

All written material needs to be submitted in American Psychological Association (APA) format. The Web site Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab) is an excellent source for information. You are expected to review this site and follow the format for in-text/parenthetical sourcing of your references in your papers. For writing support, here are a few resources: The College Writing Center, The University Writing Center and the University Graduate Writing Center.

The required format for your Course Papers and Final Paper is: double-spaced, 1 inch margins, Times New Roman 12 font—with appropriate research and sources to back up your findings and conclusions (as indicated below, all citations in this course should use the APA style) that “ground” your creative idea(s) in current research and thinking. Each of your Course Papers and your Final Paper should specify your research question and have a brief introduction and conclusion (but not an abstract). Include your name and the page number in the header on each page (for an example, see the header on this page). For each paper, please include a title page displaying the title and your identifying information. The title page does not count toward the page length requirement.

The only citations that count in your two course papers and your final paper are citations from unique sources that do not include the course textbook or any required articles in the course syllabus. For papers that may involve interviews, you should reference who your interviewees are (you can use fictitious names) in the text and should not include them as citations (interviews do not count as citations). Consider the course textbook and required/recommended articles as introductions to the subject of study that invite you to go further and refine your research abilities by discovering other sources. Each of your Course Papers must be 2 pages (including bibliography)—including a minimum of 2 citations from unique sources. Your Final Paper must be 3 pages (including bibliography)—including a minimum of 3 citations from unique sources. If the page length of your paper is below or above the required length, your grade for the paper will be reduced by an additional 1 point (out of 3). You should put your references immediately below the end of your paper rather than on a separate page. Similarly, if the number of citations from unique sources that do not include the course textbook or any articles in the course syllabus in your paper is below the minimum, your grade for the paper will be reduced by an additional 1 point. Each of your papers will be given a grade from 1 point (lowest) to 3 points (highest).