Students will write a term paper worth 30% of the final grade on any approved topic related to the study of local government. The paper should be roughly 2,500 to 3,000 words in length (10 pages double-spaced using a 12 point font) and is to be submitted by Friday, March 18, 2016 by 11:59:59 PM to the Dropbox on the course web site. Papers must be uploaded either as rtf (rich text format) or MS Word document. DO NOT upload your paper as a pdf.
A late penalty of 2% per day (including weekends) will be levied and no papers will be accepted after Friday, April 1st without appropriate medical or compassionate grounds.
Some possible topics include the following (the list is by no means exhaustive):
The impact of downloading on a particular municipality
How the principles of new public management have been applied at the local level
Whether party affiliations would be beneficial or detrimental for local councils
The role of the mayor in local politics
A detailed assessment of the concept of smart growth
New urbanism / Problem of urban sprawl
Political corruption at the local level
Examination of the purpose and relevance of the Official Plan
Land use planning
Housing policy / Affordable housing
The municipal budgeting process
Local government and the constitutional division of powers
Local electoral systems
Single-tier versus two-tier local government
Recreation and leisure policy
Culture, heritage and arts policy
New deal for cities
Gender/ethnic representation in local government
Local citizen engagement
For this assignment you need to write a traditional social science research paper. This means that you need to identify a particular research question that you want to explore in the context of your paper. For any topic that you decide to investigate there will be numerous research questions that could be posed and each will lead to a different paper in terms of your focus and the argument being advanced. In other words, the paper should be structured to answer a specific question or puzzle that you want to investigate (for example, one question might be as follows: “Should the Ontario government allow political parties to field candidates during municipal elections?”).
It should be stressed that it is not sufficient that you have a research question underpinning your paper. You must also have a clearly articulated thesis statement (i.e., what is the argument you are advancing in the paper? Your research question and thesis should be clearly identified in the introduction to your paper. To avoid any confusion as to what your thesis is supposed to be, I would suggest that you clearly state: “This paper argues…” or “It will be argued that….”
Sticking with the previous research question example, a thesis for that particular paper could be: “Policy-making at the local level is impeded by the inability of local councils to forge a consensus on important issues and, as such, the provincial government should alter the electoral law in Ontario so that political parties can field candidates during municipal elections.”
All information in your paper must be referenced according to the following format:
Use in-text citations with a list of references at the end of the paper. When you are paraphrasing the ideas put forth by a scholar in an article or book you should include the author and year of the publication in question (for example, (Mau, 2013)); if you are directly quoting from one of your sources you must include the page number from where the passage was retrieved (for example, (Mau, 2013, p.112)).
If you are not certain about how to properly reference material or require additional supports for writing a research paper, you should consult with either the professor or one of the TAs; alternatively, you can access the resources available to you through the Library Learning Commons.
The term paper will be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria:
to what extent have you chosen a relevant local government topic to explore in the paper?
does the paper have a clear purpose statement, research question and thesis statement?
have you undertaken the breadth and depth of research necessary for a third-year university level paper?
does the paper effectively summarize and apply the relevant literature associated with the chosen topic?
does it incorporate a suitable level of analysis – i.e., the paper should not merely be descriptive in nature?
has the author been innovative in the development of the paper?
is the paper well written – i.e., clear, thorough yet concise, devoid of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors?