[SOLVED] Final Policy Memo

In Week 7, you will submit a Policy Memo, addressing the following: Select one public sector related news item (within the last 10 years) not covered in this course and analyze your chosen news item from the perspective of any two of the contested topics introduced in this course.  THE ARTICLE I CHOSE IS https://www.persuasion.community/p/americans-are-self-censoring-at-record. Your analysis must draw upon the news item and relevant course readings. Your analysis must also incorporate at least three academic articles and/or books not assigned in this class. Each source must be substantively incorporated into your final assignment.  Spend no more than 10% of your paper summarizing the news event.  The Policy Memo should be 2,000 words. In-text citations, assignment title, and list of references are not included in your target word count. This memo is not a research essay. It is a research memo. It should have a clear “To:” the person you want to fix your identified policy problem.  2. It is best if your “To:” is not “the government” or “the federal, state, and local governments”. Be specific. We don’t write memos to all governments in the US. When employed as public servants or those within NGOs, we write memos to specific people at a specific level of government, e.g. Mayor XX of City YY or Police Chief AA of City BB or Chairperson JJ of NGO KK. Find the specific person and organization – name them. Imagine that you are literally writing a memo to him/her. Your memo specificity (aka chance of higher grade) will increase when you are realize that we write policy memos to specific persons within specific agencies within one level of government. 3. The “From:” is you. But you are not “UM graduate student” but “your name, title/organization of someone who might write such a memo to the person in the “To”. For example, I might desire to write a memo to the Mayor of Miami and I am the Deputy Mayor. Or I am the Chairwoman of the City Council. Or I am the head of Miami’s pandemic response. You get the idea. Be specific.  4. This is a research memo. This means that you must find and cite at least three ACADEMIC sources not on our syllabus. It is far better for those sources to engage your three contested concepts than than just the news items. Do note that students who simply find three or more academic sources but do not clearly showcase within their memo how those sources informed their analysis are less likely to earn the highest grades. Anyone can find three sources and add them to their citations. It is much harder to deeply incorporate those sources into your analysis. Your best bet on incorporation is to start learning how to do in-text citations sooner than than later.  5. The memo is 2000 words plus/minus 10%. Citations are not part of your word count.  6. Think carefully about your chosen three contested issues. These are the contested issues that you want the person in the “To” to be aware of or to consider or to understand or to explain how that issue will influence the “To:” consideration on that issue. How might equity (be specific on type of equity) alter what is possible with mask-wearing in a specific city? How might New Public Management explain the desire by certain US conservatives to close the US Postal Service? How might representative bureaucracy influence how a Police Chief reconsiders his or hiring? How might Simon’s satisficing alter primary education reform in your state?   7. Remember, you are choosing just ONE policy issue to focus upon. The narrower (on issue) the better, e.g. not “improve COVID management” but instead, one aspect of it. Each of your three chosen contested issues will interact with that ONE policy issue. 8. Help the reader and use sub-headings, e.g. contested issue 1, 2, 3. Don’t forget about the importance of good topic sentences not only to guide the reader but also to ensure that you, as the writer, are keeping your paragraphs focused.  9. I know that students love the three E’s. But I have learned from readings lots (and lots!) of student memos that (a) the equity part of the three E’s is often easiest for students to use, (b) the three E’s are too many E’s for just one of your three contested issues, and thus, (c) you may not choose more than one of the three e’s in your whole memo. If you insist on (c), then your other two contested issues must come from elsewhere in the course. Or, as most students choose, they find it too hard to transform a discussion about one of the three E’s into a research memo and thus, they avoid it altogether. Just because a topic is easily explained in discussions does not mean it transforms easily into longer research memos.   10. Weak students will submit a policy memo in which the majority of the paper is about issue background with only 2 or 3 paragraphs about how contested issues applies to their chosen policy issue. Don’t be that weak student. Think about devoting at least 1500 of the 2000 words to your contested issues, e.g. 500 words or so per contested issue as applied to your chosen policy case. Students who spend the majority of their research memo discussing the policy problem are not the same students who spend the majority of their research memo discussing how each of their three chosen issues interacts with their policy problem. This course is focused on the latter.

 

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