the reaserch project

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Research Project

The Research Project entails an annotated bibliography and a book review.  Both the book and the items in the annotated bibliography should be on a topic related to one of the policy areas listed below. 

Both the topic and the book must be approved. The project is due by 11:55 pm on June 23rd

Policy Areas:

  • Climate Change
  • Economy (tax policies, income inequality, minimum wage, etc.)
  • Health Care (Tort reform; “Obamacare”; etc.)
  • Immigration
  • Energy (oil; fracking; drilling; pipelines, etc.)
  • Criminal Justice (legalization of drugs; death penalty; mass incarceration; gun rights/gun control, etc.)

The book must meet the following requirements:

  • The book must focus on a particular policy or policy area,
  • It can be written by an author from any political perspective
  • Must focus on the US or US policy
  • Must have been written in the last twenty years

Only certain items will be acceptable for the bibliography.  These include:

  • Articles from academic peer reviewed journals;
  • Reports or studies prepared and issued by a government agency, a think tank (e.g. Urban Institute; American Enterprise Institute; Brookings institution; Heritage Foundation) or a foundation (e.g. Ford Foundation). 


  • Part I – Introduction to the topic
  • Part II – Annotated Bibliography
  • Part III – Book review
  • Part IV – Conclusion
  • Part V – List of References,
  • Part VI – Copies of the title page of each article/report

Annotated Bibliography

The annotated bibliography should include at least six articles related to the topic found in academic journals, scholarly reports or studies.  One way to find academic journal articles is through the JSTOR database.  You may also use EBSCO, but be sure to only include articles from academic journals.  You must include the following for each source:

  • The title and full citation of the article
  • A 1-2 paragraph description of the article that describes what it is about, what sources of information the author(s) rely upon, and what the author(s) concluded.

The bibliography should also include a concluding section that notes any recurring themes, points of debate, or points of disagreement or difference within these articles. 

Book Review

Must be at least four pages, well-written (with appropriate citations if necessary), and include the following information:

  • An overview of what the book is about – including description of the approach the author is taking.  (i.e., Is this an attempt to answer a set of research questions? Is it an argument on behalf of a particular policy or agenda? etc.)
  • A detailed discussion of the main points in the book (can be chapter by chapter, but does not have to be).
  • A description of the sources of information the author(s) rely upon for evidence (e.g. personal experience, anecdotal information, surveys, archival research, interviews, data sets, statistical data/analyses etc.)
  • Strengths and weaknesses of the book (in terms of the content, and reliability of the information – not in terms of entertainment)
  • Compare and contrast the book with the articles listed in your bibliography – points of agreement and/or difference, sources of information or evidence.  Does the book fit with the “academic literature” on this topic?  Explain.

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