These are the instructions pulled directly from the course syllabus. While the professor is open on the exact topic or discussion point, I’d like to stick with the Green New Deal and the expansion of social welfare programs.
Students will write a research paper on a topic within a broad subject area drawn from course materials. The assignment is designed to build skills of collection, interpretation, and application of complex information and materials needed by practitioners in the professional workplace and by students in graduate study. To learn something new and useful, students should choose a topic that is relatively unfamiliar to them. The paper is intended to extend the student’s knowledge beyond course content, into basic, older materials and into cutting-edge scholarly materials. This is a complex assignment constituting a large part of the course grade. To be successful, students will need to begin their research immediately, allowing plenty of time for gathering materials prior to writing.
Students conduct a review of the literature beyond course readings, selecting for use 12-15 sources that offer a wide range of ideas, including articles from a variety of scholarly journals in public administration and other fields where appropriate, and books where appropriate. (The mixture of sources in book or article format will vary and material for some topics will come largely from books. The objective in either case is to progress from basic or older foundational material to the most recent, seeking the interplay of contrasting ideas that indicates development of knowledge). Use of internet sources (that are not peer-reviewed articles) should be minimal.
This is a paper about ideas and the field of public administration. Politicians, political appointees, or public policy may be important elements in the paper, but the central orientation is the work of career public service (public or nonprofit) professionals. Narrow or specific policy or case-based materials may be used to illustrate the subject matter of the paper, but are not its primary focus. The paper is an exercise in scholarly writing, not an opinion piece, so analysis and discussion must be supported by description of concepts and citation of sources of information.
Topics MUST come from one of the following areas (in parentheses are terms, concepts and authors intended to assist with research):
1. The Founding Era/early republic (1770s-1790s) and models of government and administration. (Includes topics such as: the Federalists and Anti-Federalists; exploration of matters such as their contemporary significance for public administration, or ideas, issues, people or events during the Founding Era. See authors such as John Rohr, Larry Terry, Michael Spicer).
The Progressive Era (1880-1920) and public administration. (Includes topics such as: Municipal reform; patronage and personnel system reform; women and the settlement house movement as the beginning of social welfare and nonprofits; beginnings of the regulatory state in areas such as food and drugs, federal land management, controlling trusts/monopolies. See authors such as Camilla Stivers, Hindy Lauer Schachter, O. C. McSwite, Greg Cawley).
The New Deal (1930s) and the rise of the modern federal government. (Includes topics such as: POSDCORB concepts of management; creation of social welfare programs and agencies. See authors such as Luther Gulick, Leonard D. White and contemporary authors).
Public administration and the nature of democracy and citizenship. (Includes topics such as Politics and administration; administrative legitimacy; models of citizenship; the public professional and citizen participation in governance. See authors such as Dwight Waldo, Mary Parker Follett, Cheryl King, Camilla Stivers).
New Public Management compared with other models of public administration such as “traditional” PA and New Public Administration. (Includes topics such as: Value bases and characteristics; effects on service delivery, citizen self-governance, the role of the public service practitioner. See authors such as Donald Kettl, H. George Frederickson, O. C. McSwite, Richard Box, Robert Denhardt)
Themes of public administration (Includes topics such as: politics versus administration, bureaucracy versus democracy, gender and public administration, government and the market, government and civil society/nonprofit organizations, public vs. private, instrumental versus value in public administration, reform, etc.).
Electronic search tools for academic sources are useful in conducting research though they often cover only a portion of the relevant literature. There is no substitute for reading source materials, discovering what has been written about the topic, and following citations to additional sources. Library resources are limited and more than one student may be working simultaneously on the same topic. Please do not keep books out of the library for extended periods. Instead, make notes and copy needed material, then return the book. The professor may be consulted when the student has conducted a thorough search using the tools and materials discussed here and assistance is needed with focusing the search or topic.
Public administration and related journals and magazines of particular interest for this course include: Public Administration Review, American Review of Public Administration, Administration & Society, Administrative Theory & Praxis, Public Performance & Management Review, The Responsive Community, National Civic Review, and Governing. Related journals from fields such as management, the nonprofit sector, political science, history, sociology, and so on may be useful depending on the topic of the paper.
Students select a topic after surveying the assigned readings for the semester and conducting a preliminary electronic search of the Library’s catalog of books and search tools that access articles. A research paper proposal – a total of 2 pages in length (one page devoted to the proposal and the second page devoted to the references) – will be submitted in a Word document via Canvas to the instructor that includes the title of the paper, a description of the paper in paragraph form and in complete sentences. The proposal should clearly state your research question (in the form of a question) and thesis statement or argument, and a reference list. The reference list shows sources proposed for the paper, in correct APA style. It may change as research progresses, but the list should be as complete as possible.
Final Draft and Final Paper
The paper, with a text length (text only, not including references) of 4-6 single-spaced pages, should be divided into three sections (sub-sections may be added as needed). Section headings to be used in the paper are
Introduction to the Topic (overview of the subject area; summary of key ideas discussed in the paper; clear statement of thesis or argument to be made). Length: approx. one page;
Important Ideas in the Literature (describes and compares/contrasts important concepts in the research material; discusses strengths and weaknesses of concepts; formed around thesis/argument). Length: three to four pages;
Conclusion and Implications for Public Administration (summarizes concepts and findings in the paper and discusses the importance of these ideas for the practice of professional public service; shows clearly that a case has been made for thesis/argument). Length: approx. one to two pages
Section headings are shown in the paper in capitals, centered on the page. Sub-sections are to the left side of the page, in first-letter capitals and lower case, underlined.
There is no cover sheet. Instead, at the top of the first page to the left are student name, course number, identification of draft or final paper, and date. The title of the paper is centered and in bold type. Pages are numbered at the bottom center of each page.
A final draft of the full, complete paper will be submitted in a Word document via Canvas to the instructor in mid-semester. This should be a final draft (not a first draft).
The final paper, submitted toward the end of the semester (in a Word document via Canvas to the instructor), should include revisions based on the professor’s comments in red font. [Please make sure no red markings show in the final paper.]