American Government Paper

PS 101 American Government Paper Guidelines



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The purpose of this assignment is to (1) teach you how to write a scholarly paper, (2) encourage you to analyze an issue from all perspectives, and (3) understand the importance of politics in our everyday lives.


For this paper, you will write 7+ pages on a topic of your choosing. All of the topics mentioned in the Final Paper Topic Discussion from the first two weeks of class were perfectly acceptable. You will need to bring your topic to class Thursday 9/10 as we will be discussing them. Your topic should be turned in to me on Canvas by Friday at 11:59 pm. It will be under an assignment labeled “Final Paper Topic.”

Since this is an academic and scholarly paper, you will need to use at least 4 scholarly sources and at least 8 sources altogether. Scholarly sources are peer-reviewed academic articles in journals. You can access them via the library’s database or google scholar (many say the latter is easier). We will devote class time to understanding what a scholarly source is and how to find it and cite it. Your other 4 sources can be government websites, think tanks, nonprofit websites, or news articles.

You can write it in MLA, APA, or APSA style. Just be sure to follow whichever you choose consistently and correctly.

Title Pages and Bibliographies do not count toward your page count, but you will need them. Again, we will discuss this in class. Times New Roman Font, Size 12, Double Spaced, 1 in margins.

Length- Your paper structure might be different, and that’s okay. It’s normal for your Introduction and Conclusion to look mildly similar or to be a lot shorter than Parts 1-4. For reference, this would be a well-balanced paper that doesn’t focus too heavily or lightly on any one thing.

Introduction- .5-1 page

Part 1- 1.5-2 pages

Part 2- 1.5-2 pages

Part 3- 1.5-2 pages

Part 4- 1-1.5 pages

Conclusion- .5-1 page.



Introduction- Introduce your topic to me. What is your paper about? Explain briefly. Why is it important? Give me the structure of your paper (so your main arguments). Transition to Part 1.

Part 1- This is where you will begin to elaborate on the topic of your choosing and likely its history. Give me the context I need to understand your paper. Assume I am a general reader and not a Political Science Instructor.

Part 2- Here’s where you should introduce the argument of support/ one side of the argument (depends on your topic but every topic has multiple perspectives. If you have trouble with this, reach out and I can help you identify different sections).

Part 3- This is the section where you talk about the counterarguments to Part 2. This could be negative implications of something, flaws in the way it would work/ does work, a competing theory to something. Again, it is topic dependent, and we can discuss this further individually, but just present another perspective.

Part 4- Give me your opinion. How do we fix the problem or which perspective do you agree with? Remember, throughout this whole paper you should be using evidence based reasoning and analytical thinking. Without evidential support, this might as well be an opinion piece for the local newspaper. Give me substance and support to what you are saying. It is okay to be opinionated in this section; however, I should not know what you believe in Parts 1-3. We’ll talk more in class about what I’m expecting.

Conclusion- Don’t present any new information here. Just wrap up what your paper was about, both perspectives, and your opinion.

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