Explain why more needs to be done is the law/program ineffective?

Summer 2019

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Policy Memo Assignment Instructions (be sure to read all 7 pages)

For the final assignment you will write a brief memo, advocating for a psychology–based policy

solution for a particular social issue. First, choose a social issue that you think should be

addressed (if it is not currently being addressed) by the government (federal, state, or local) or

that it should be addressed differently; and the solution(s), at least partly, should be based on

psychological research. You can choose any issue that either was covered or not covered in

this class, except for the suspension/expulsion issue that I discussed in my lecture. You may

choose any of the covered course materials to support your evidence-based solution(s). You can

also find additional scientific literature to provide support to your claims.

Your Memo should include the following information:

1. Description of the social issue that you believe the government needs to address

differently; and explain why the government should be concerned with the issue.

2. Describe any governmental program(s) or law(s), if any, that are already in place to

address the issue. If none exists, state that. Explain why more needs to be done (e.g., is

the law/program ineffective?)

3. Discuss the complexity of the issue (please refer back to my “wicked problems” lectures

and reading by Rittel and Webber, 1973).

4. and finally explain why a new policy based on psychological research will be more

effective than what is currently in place (if anything). Explain how psychological

research can shed more light on the issue and its potential solution.

USE THE TEMPLATE BELOW TO WRITE YOUR PAPER

REFER TO THE GRADING RUBRIC FOR ADDITIONAL HELPFUL HINTS

Summer 2019

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Policy Memo

To: Name of the individual or government organization that should read this memo

From: Your First and Last name

Re: [Insert Your Main Message/Proposal/or Conclusion]

___________________________________________________

Executive Summary (about one or two paragraphs)

This part of your memo should provide a clear and concise summary of the memo (background,

analysis, and recommendations). Highlight major ideas and draw together key points, as this

may be the only part of the memo that the reader be willing or able to read. Make every word

count.

Background (about two or three paragraphs)

Briefly provide background information on the social issue. The purpose of this section is to get

your reader up to speed on the issue and the policy area that he/she may not be familiar with.

Analysis (this is the main body of your memo)

Describe the “wickedness” of the issue; and what, if anything, has been done to solve it.

Then, discuss the psychology of the issue, and explain how psychology can help address it. Cite

at least 5 different academic sources; at least 4 must come from psychological literature,

published in professional journals (feel free to use the articles discussed in this course).

You can also include additional sources of evidence that were not covered in the class, as long as

they come from credible sources and relevant to your point.

Organize and connect the topics in such a way that together they provide a clear, concise and

coherent assessment of the effectiveness of your proposal.

Conclusion (about one paragraph)

Summer 2019

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Conclude your memo by giving your final thoughts on the issue and policy solution. For more

help on how to write a policy memo, visit http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/policymemo

References (separate page)

Cite all your sources using APA or any familiar to you style (but be consistent).

ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT FORMAT INSTRUCTIONS:

1 Your memo should be between 2 and 4 pages in length—single-spaced, 12-point font (Times New Roman) and 1-inch margins. The assignment should not be longer than four pages

(not including the reference page). Anything past 4 pages will not be read or graded. You

must write it in paragraph form and submit it in Microsoft Word format. Make certain

you submit it in Microsoft Word format, either in 97-2003 format or a more recent

version (2007 or later are fine).

2 You should use in-text citations supporting your arguments, if needed. Provide the full citation for any sources you cited (like the textbook or some other book or article) in

“References” page.

3 You have to use APA format or style used in your field (e.g., Chicago Manual) to cite things. Whatever style you use, be consistent throughout the paper.

4 When referring to readings or other sources, put the concept into your own words. Never use quotes from the literature in the paper–NEVER. Quotes will not be read and any

ideas expressed with quotes will not be counted as part of your responses.

Grading Rubric: Your paper will be evaluated on your knowledge and ability to synthesize the

information we have covered in this course (lectures, videos, and readings). This entails

incorporating relevant theories and studies, debating their merits and drawing an informed

conclusion. In addition to the substance of your paper, your memo will be evaluated on its

organization and grammar.

http://libguides.usc.edu/writingguide/policymemo

Summer 2019

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Policy Paper Grading Scheme (50 points)

Quality of Writing (20 points)

1. Literacy (5 points):

Great (A):

Written in clear

English; no

grammatical

errors; written in

a formal and

respectful tone

Good (B) Needs Work (C) Needs Major

Revisions (D)

Your Grade

5 4.5 4 3

2. Formatting and Other Logistics (5 points):

Great (A): All

formatting

instructions

properly

followed (e.g.,

all sections

included,

citations, page

length, no quotes

Good (B) Needs Work (C) Needs Major

Revisions (D)

Your Grade

5 4.5 4 3

3. Organization (10 points):

Great (A):

Logical

sequencing of

ideas through

well-developed

paragraphs;

transitions are

used to enhance

organization and

comprehension

Good (B) Needs Work (C) Needs Major

Revisions (D)

Your Grade

Summer 2019

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of ideas

(consistently

demonstrated

throughout the

paper)

10 9 8 7

Quality of Critical Thinking (30 points)

4. Background of the social issue

Great (A):

Provides

important

background

information

about the

social issue

and its current

status

(including any

existing

policies)

Good (B)

Provides

insufficient

amount of

background

information

about the social

issue.

Needs Work

(C): Some

background

information is

inaccurate

Needs Major

Revisions (D):

Insufficient and

inaccurate

background

information.

Your Score

5 4 3 2-1

5. Analysis of the social issue

Great (A):

Identifies not

only the basics

but also the

nuances of the

issue—the

issue is clearly

a “wicked

problem”.

Analyzes the

Good (B)

Describes

mostly the

basics of the

issue; nuances

are not

sufficiently

discussed—the

issue is not

sufficiently

Needs Work

(C): Provides

only the

summary of

the basics of

the issue.

Needs Major

Revisions (D):

Represents the

issue

inaccurately or

in a very

confusing

manner or

provides

insufficient

Your Score

Summer 2019

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issue with a

clear sense of

scope.

discuss to see it

as a “wicked

problem” .

amount of

information

7 5 4 3

6. Proposal of a policy solution

Great (A):

Proposed policy

solution is

coherently

explained, and is

aligned well with

the issue.

Good (B):

Proposed policy

solution is

explained, and is

aligned with the

issue. But may

not be entirely

coherently or

sufficiently

explained.

Needs Work (C):

Proposed policy

solution is not

sufficiently

explained, or is

not aligned with

the issue.

Your Score

7 5 4-1

7. Presents sufficient amount of relevant scientific evidence to support the arguments.

Great (A):

Presents

sufficient amount

(at least 4 of the

5 sources are of

psychological

research) of

relevant

psychological

evidence;

examines the

evidence and

source of

evidence with

precision.

Good (B):

Presents

sufficient

amount (at least

4 of the 5

sources are of

psychological

research) of

relevant

psychological

evidence;

examines the

evidence and

source of

evidence but at

times lacks

clarity

Needs Work (C):

Either presents

insufficient

amount of

literature or not

all cited literature

is of relevance or

doesn’t come

from professional

journals; or some

literature is

inaccurately

interpreted.

Needs Major

Revisions (D):

Does not present

enough evidence

or most of what is

presented is

irrelevant or

inaccurately

interpreted; or

Does not

distinguish

between fact,

opinion, and value

judgments.

Your Score

7 6 5 4-2

8. Executive Summary and Conclusion.

Summer 2019

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Great (A):

Executive

summary and

conclusion are

aligned with the

background and

analysis sections

Good (B)

Executive

summary or

conclusion are

not entirely

aligned with the

background and

analysis sections

Needs Work (C):

Executive

summary and

conclusion are

not all well

aligned with the

background and

analysis sections

Needs Major

Revisions (D):

Important

information is

missing.

Your Score

4 3 2 1

COMMON FORMS OF PLAGIARISM:

 Copying someone’s sentence(s) word for word without quotation marks.  Self plagiarism refers to when a writer re-uses his/her previously written work, word for

word, and without quotation marks and/or proper citation.

 Insufficient paraphrasing occurs when a writer copies someone’s sentence or several sentences, changes some words but leaves the structure of the sentence(s) still intact.

For example, here is an original quote from Inbar and Lammers (in press), Political Diversity in

Social Personality Psychology:

“One salient explanation is a hostile political climate against conservatives (and even

moderates). Nonliberals may feel unable to publicly express their views, and the liberal majority

may actively discriminate against openly conservative individuals.”

And here is an example of it being insufficiently paraphrased:

One explanation is an unfriendly political climate against conservative views [(and even

moderates)]. Someone who is not a liberal may feel unable to [publicly] give their opinions,

and the liberal majority will [actively] retaliate against those [conservative] people.

If plagiarism is detected, and depending on its scope, you may receive a 50% reduction on your

paper, get a failing grade, or be reported to the Dean’s office.

Resources used: https://www.bowdoin.edu/studentaffairs/academic-

honesty/examples/mosaic/index.shtml

 

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