Give a summary of the background of the issue. Identify what the issue is and provide an historical overview, summary of past court cases or legislation or any other relevant data.
How has the issue changed over time? The end of this section should also include the thesis statement (e.g., “The goal of this paper is to objectively present the two sides of the … controversy, to identify the key political elements of the debate and offer a recommended course of action”). This section should be about 1 page in length
The positions in this section identify the various positions on the issue (e.g., for and against, pro and con; or different ways of handling an issue). Be sure to objectively cover the issue from both perspectives. Avoid inflammatory language and logical fallacies.
Present documented support for each perspective (not your personal opinion, but what other research has found). You should paraphrase all information (put in your own words).
if you must use a direct quote, be sure it is enclosed in quote marks and is immediately followed by the appropriate citation. Information that is paraphrased should still include an in-text citation).
This should be the longest part of your memo (aim for 1 ½ – 2 pages) public opinion what is public’s view on this issue? Has this view changed in the last few years? Do some groups have a particular viewpoint (e.g., women, minorities, etc.…)?
www.peoplepress.org offers a lot of good public opinion data on a wide variety of topics. This section is ideal for including the required graphic element.
Consider including a table of public information data. (Wherever you chose to include the graphic element, be sure you 1) include the actual graphic in the paper itself
2) include a citation directly under the graphic (where you obtained the image, not just the citation that may be on the image; 3) Discuss the image in your text (e.g., “For example in the table above you can see….”)) This section should be approximately ½-1 page in length. Interest group positions identify and discuss 1 or 2 organised interest groups which support or oppose each position/perspective.
Be specific, identify the group, what they stand for and how they are working for or against the issue. Try a google search “Interest Groups that support…” This section should be ½ to 1 page in length. Partisan considerations What is the party’s (democratic / Republican) position on this issue?
You can usually find this information on the Party’s website (www.democrats.org or www.GOP.org you can also google “Republican Party view on… or Democratic Party view on…). Be careful not to confuse people who identify with a party with the actual position of the party) This section should be approximately ½-1 page in length.
Conclusion/ Recommendation Give a short recap of the main points outlined in the paper. You may also write a general recommended course of action. This is the only section where you can offer your own personal opinion. (e.g., “Based on all of the information presented above, I believe that the best course of action would be to….”)
Sample format for Research Paper