Research paper expectations: All work submitted must be typewritten and double spaced, using a 12-point font, with 1 inch margins on all four sides and properly footnoted. Plagiarism will result in a failing grade. The grading of the paper will be based on:
· Your ability to provide a viewpoint on the topic to back up your opinions provided with research materials.
· Clarity and organization of the essay.
· Appropriate citations and reference throughout the essay (footnotes, bibliography, etc.).
· Correct grammar, spelling and form.
· Unexcused late essays will be reduced by one-half a grade per day.
· The paper/essay should between 15 or more pages in length. Note: If you are using this paper for the MLA capstone requirement, it should be 17- 20 pages or more in length (see special MLA note below).
Suggested Current Issues in Public Policy and Administration Research Paper Topics
· Agenda Setting and Policy Making
· Public Choice Theory
· Intergovernmental Relations
· An American Fear/Loathing of Bureaucracy
· Organizational Studies and the Worker
· Civil Service Reform
· Inclusion and Exclusion
· Budgets as Policy Documents
· Formal and Informal Organizations
· The impact of reinventing government on public organizations
· Factors affecting employee satisfaction
· Decision-Making Theories
· Effective Communication
· Citizen Participation in Public Organizations
· Organizational culture
· Street-Level Bureaucracy
· Discretion in Public Sector Organizations
· Alternative management styles within organizations
· Participative management
· Leadership within organizations
· Public service motivation
· Group conflict within organizations
· Technology within organizations
· Alternative organizational structures
· Motivation and performance
· Centralization and decentralization of authority
· Effective organizational communication
· Managing Conflict within organizations
· Relationship between organizational culture and merging organizations
· The impact of alternative employment relationships (i.e. use of temporary workers) on organizational behavior
· Administrative reform in China, Nigeria, Mexico, or another nation
· Administrative reform of the United Nations
· Aging population and the pension/medical care time bomb (in the US, Western Europe, or Japan)
· Anti-corruption strategies (foreign government/international non-governmental organizations would work best here)
· Civil service reform in developing nations
· New public management
· New public governance
Paper Organization Guidelines
Good writing is clear thinking made evident, but too often we find writing without enough of the underlying thinking. It’s seductive to worry about the external appearance of writing, finding just the right font style and formatting, putting off the harder work of reasoning out the underlying message. Any good long-form research essay writing requires an understanding of the key moving parts: including study justification, concept explication, and a narrowing down of the research questions. Organizing a paper clearly, with a clear logical structure, is a difficult task, given that most of us have been trained to write using simple word processor programs like MSWord with its inherent linear, stream-of-writing bias. That’s why I recommend writing with an outline as a tool to help visualize and easily manipulate your paper’s structure. That, in turn, helps establish a logical flow as you set out an issue and elaborate on key topics, and it supports inductive sorting and grouping of related points as they are developed.
Some suggested formats for the paper:
1. Polemic in Defense of Public Administration/Management
Your polemic is “an argument, especially one that is a refutation or an attack upon a specified opinion, doctrine, or the like.” For example, MPA students in Texas have written on “The Trial Court System in Texas: A Case for Bureaucracy in the Third Branch.” Your polemic should not be a blind defense of bureaucracy out of loyalty to your agency, individuals, or a doctrine. Rather, it requires you to confront the myths and stereotypes surrounding public administration and bureaucracy and to explore the utility and effectiveness of bureaucracy with evidence and eloquence. One can use Charles Goodsell’s book, The Case for Bureaucracy, 4th edition, as a reference.
2. Policy Analysis
This paper analyzes a significant public policy from a series of perspectives, including, but not limited to the following: 1) administrative, 2) efficiency, 3) social equity or justice, 4) legal & political; and 5) economic. Policy analysis originates in politics, channeling political conflict while building community. He also points out that policy analysis serves opposing sides. While cases and public policies may differ, but the following questions help you to structure a paper. 1. What is the policy problem? Define it specifically and present your problem statement. Make sure you are clear as to the policy goals. 2. What are the value conflicts? 3. What is the context of the policy (administrative, political, legal, etc.)? 4. What are the relevant facts? Describe what happened and the influential actors and their institutional contexts. Who supports the policy and who does not? Why or why not? 5. What public administration theories and analytical approaches are relevant for understanding and evaluating this policy problem? 6. Analysis: What are the central issues raised by the policy case? 7. Analysis: What are the major factors in the development of the policy, the implementation of the policy, or the evaluation of the policy? 8. What are the costs/benefits of the policy and which groups are affected? 9. What alternatives are appropriate for addressing this policy problem? Why are these approaches appropriate? 10. What recommendations emerge from this analysis? Justify them. 11. What are the conclusion and the political implications?
3. A Position Paper
A position paper is similar to a policy analysis. This assignment marshals the arguments in support of or against a specific policy, program, or issue. Normally, the best form for a position paper is to present the opposing arguments in their best light, and then expose their weaknesses. After that, the writer is obliged to offer a suitable substitute and argue why it is better. The conclusion should also point out why this issue is important to public administration and the role of government (or governments).