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Self-Reflection and Policy Formulation Development
Consider any important and controversial current issue in public policy. Write an exploratory research paper that describes your own search for a personal answer to how to resolve this issue. Begin by sharing with the reader why this particular issue is important to you based on what you’ve experienced in your life and a reflection on where you stood on this public policy issue before you began your research, and why. (Being confused or uncertain is OK!) Then write a first-person, reflective narrative of your thinking process as you investigated this issue by researching the public policy literature, talking with classmates, coworkers, and friends and drawing on your own personal experiences, memories, and observations. Write about how this public policy issue has been handled and how you think it should be handled differently. 

Your narrative should include a summary of a few public policy articles (targeting either academic researchers or public policy practitioners), followed by your own intellectual wrestling with each article’s theories/ideas. By the end of your paper, summarize how your ideas evolved during your process of research and reflection. The quality of your exploration and thinking processes will significantly influence your grade. In other words, your goal is not to take a stand on this public policy issue, but to provide a nuanced report of your cognitive process of wrestling with it.

I encourage (but do not require) you to approach the Final Paper with the following steps, in which you engage in collaboration via email with a Final Paper Peer Review Group of two other students of your choosing (this process will help you to refine a vital career skill—peer editing via Track Changes in MS Word—and improve the quality of your paper): 

1)  Write your first draft. | Suggested due date: Oct. 25

2)  Peer review, using Track Changes, two other student papers’ first drafts. Your peer review should be a combination of written comments and references to the codes in the writing taxonomy provided by the professor. | Suggested due date: Nov. 4

3)  Use Track Changes to edit your peer-reviewed first draft. Use the Comments function in Track Changes to explain what you have learned since writing your first draft (including feedback from your two peer reviewers) that has influenced your edits on your second draft. | Suggested due date: Nov. 11

4)  Peer review (the same) two other student papers’ second drafts. | Suggested due date: Nov. 15

5)  Note: Whether you engage with a Final Paper Peer Review Group or not, you must submit your finished paper on November 19 on Turnitin and Paper Exchange on Blackboard.

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