Populism In Russia
The writing assignments comprise 25% of your final grade. The ultimate goal of the writing exercises is developing students’ appreciation for critical, objective analysis of a relevant topic. Your writing grade revolves around three basic criteria. Each of the following includes useful advice toward improving your writing for these particular type of assignments.
1. Following instructions:
● Following directions is an important aspect of your college success. Read the syllabus. Use the proper format: Times New Roman #12 font, 1” margins, double-spacing, etc.
● Provide the correct number of pages; anything less suggests minimal effort. Going significantly over the maximum number of pages is not necessarily bad, but unnecessary. Editing your paper to the required length is part of your writing skill; trim out the padding and provide the most useful information.
● Provide the correct number of references (on the bibliography page) in the proper format. Formats for the various types of references are included at the end of this guide.
2. Quality of your syntax (grammar, sentence structure, organization):
● Proof-Read, Proof-Read, Proof-Read. Do your sentences make sense? Are they complete sentences? Are they grammatically correct? Are they clearly stated?
● Use punctuation effectively. For example, if it sounds natural to pause when phrasing your sentence, use a comma. This “flow” in the narrative aids in clarity for the reader.
● Use logic in the organization of your narrative. Start at the beginning of an idea to explain it clearly to the reader. Assume the reader does not know about the topic; bring them along progressively so that they understand what you have learned. Use paragraphs to break up the passages so that the reader can follow your narrative more clearly.
● Don’t drift off into attempts at rhetorical grandiloquence. Get to the points and focus on the most useful analysis you have learned about the topic.
● Do not cut and paste passages from your sources. Paraphrase what you have learned in your own words.
● Proof-Read more. (Out loud)
3. Quality of the information, sources, and presentation of your narrative:
● Most importantly, are you providing the reader with useful, interesting, unbiased information that describes what you have learned from credible sources on this topic?
● For an analytical paper, dig deeper into the why’s, what-for’s, and how-come’s of decisions, events, and behaviors. Look for social costs, benefits, and unanticipated consequences that result from issues and policies.
c. Don’t just talk “about” things with generic definitions and broad assumptions. Be descriptive. Provide useful and interesting details and explanations. Give an interesting example that helps explain the issue in question. Use data, statistics, surveys, polls, case studies, laws passed, acts of Congress, court decisions, or historical information to better describe what is actually happening and why.
● Avoid broad generalizations that either need substantiation, or cannot be proven. ● At the end of each passage where a source has been used, provide a simple
in-text cite in the form of, for example, (Jones 2014).
● The paper is not a forum for you to spout your opinions; avoid them. This is an analytical exercise. I want to know what you have learned. Avoid confirmation bias, normative rhetoric, and hyperbole.
● Personal experience (or anecdotal evidence) can certainly provide useful insight into any analysis. This however should be a minor portion of the paper, and should be for the purpose of observation and learning, not an excuse to opinionate.
● Understand what critical analysis means. After reading a peer-reviewed academic article written by someone who is considered an authority on the subject, the point is not to tell me “what you think,” but to describe what the author thinks from their findings. Resist the temptation to insert comments editorializing “what you think.”
● Be an analyst, not an activist. The assignment is not about what you think is right or wrong or good or bad; it is about learning and understanding why and how things are the way they are. Policy recommendations are based on what you have learned from your readings.
● As for your cited sources: Avoid blogs, dictionaries, general information forums, partisan opinionators, agenda-driven websites, and Wikipedia. (While Wikipedia is a useful place to look, it is not the source. Go to the original source.) Google Scholar is a useful source for academic articles.
● Use quotes sparingly. For example, a good quote from a reputable source could effectively “sum things up at the end of passage.” (Jones 2014, pg. 357) Using too many quotes, or cutting and pasting huge quotes into your paper suggests lazy writing. More on Sources
The following are examples of the proper format for your paper references, which are single- spaced. It is not necessary on your bibliography page to break them into these separate types. List them all on the page alphabetically.
Peer-reviewed academic journals (Do not show the web-link):
Hatemia, Peter K., Carolyn Funka, Sarah Medlanda, Hermine Maesa, Judy Silberga, Nicholas Martina, and Lindon Eavesa. 2009. “Genetic and Environmental Transmission of Political Attitudes over a Life Time.” The Journal of Politics 71(3):1141-1156.
Tomasello, Michael, M. Carpenter, J. Call, T. Behne, and H. Moll. 2005. “Understanding and Sharing Intentions: The Origins of Cultural Cognition.” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 28: 675-691.
Articles or works in edited volumes:
Allport, Gordon W. and Michael J. Ross. 1967/2001. “Personal Religious Orientation and Prejudice.” Pp. 352-369 in Social Structure and Social Personality, edited by J.M. Starr. Boston: Little, Brown, and Company.
Darwin, Charles. 1871/1990. “The Descent of Man.” Pp.253-659 in Great Books: Darwin, edited by M.J. Adler. Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.
Emerson, Michael and Smith, Christian. 2001. Divided by Faith: Evangelical Religion and the
Problem of Race in America, New York: Oxford University Press.
Haidt, Jonathan. 2012. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and
Religion. New York: Pantheon Books.
Websites for news articles or data sources:
Condon, Stephanie. Jan. 14, 2015. “Can the White House win the ‘battle of ideas’ against the extremists?” CBSNews.com. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/can-the-white-house-win-the- battle-of-ideas-against-extremists/; accessed January 2015.
The Graduate Center. 2001. American Religious Identification Survey. City University of New York. http://www.gc.cuny.edu/faculty/research_briefs/aris/aris_index.htm; retrieved February 2008.
National Center for Education Statistics. Nov. 2011. Community College Student Outcomes: 1994-2009. U.S. Department of Education. http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012253.pdf; retrieved January 2015.
The following is a sampling of political science oriented peer-reviewed academic journals:
American Journal of Political Science Annual Review of Political Science National Interest
American Political Science Review Politics and Society