Written work and evaluation

This is a course about Canadian politics. All assignments must address Canadian subjects and political phenomena. Students who confuse Canada with our southern neighbour will be sent to Iqaluit for re-education 😉

All assignments are submitted and marked individually. You are assigned to working pairs, and each pair is responsible for improving the quality of the work of the partner by reading and commenting. 2/10 of your participation mark is assigned by your partner in consideration of your assistance to them.

The College policy on Academic Integrity applies to all work for this course.

Turnitin links for all assignments are on Moodle.

Class ID 16932499
Password Dyck

References should be APA or Chicago, and should be consistent and complete. See Purdue OWL for easy access to formats.

The same marking guide will be applied to all written assignments, evaluating your ideas, expression and support (or logic, rhetoric, and evidence).  You can see in the guide the progression expected from junior to senior to graduate students. This is a junior course and you will be evaluated against the first column, but you should aspire to higher.

essay marking guide-22.pdf

Students will negotiate the assignment deadlines in the first week

Assignment 1 – Identifying Political Phenomena (10%)

This assignment is an example of the semiotics – the study of signs or symbols. In the study of politics, words and images are signs or symbols representing complex concepts, and they often have different meanings for different audiences. This is an important tool for understanding the world around you in general, and the nature of power and politics in particular.

Use a camera, cell phone, or sketch pad to create a document with 10 images that are examples of political phenomena within the campus and/or the City of Kingston. Images from the web and screen captures are also admissible. For each image you must explain of what we are looking at, and, within the limits of our definition of politics, how the phenomenon is political.

Keep a log of when and where each of the examples was located. This information needs to be included in the report, either with each image or as a list. The report will be graded on the relevance of the images (ideas), the clarity and accuracy of the explanation (expression) and the accuracy of record keeping (support). The images should be submitted as a package. Try to include two images and explanations per page. Include a title page on the front of the report. Submit the packages as a PDF format.


Example of a good submission

Assignment wrapper for assignment 1

Negotiated due date is… (recommended week 3)

Assignment 2 – Designing political research (15%)

In Assignment 2, you explore how to use alternative approaches to attempt to explain political phenomena. In week 1 we discuss approaches to the study of political science. In week 2 we consider socialization and political culture, and in week 3 we introduce social cleavages such as identity, ethnicity, language and socio-economic class.

Assignment 2 requires you to identify a cleavage in Canadian society, define it as an objective (measurable) political phenomenon, and describe an approach, sources of data, a research method, and analytical tools, which will help to describe, analyze and explain the phenomenon. This is an exercise in research design – how to answer a question about the real world of politics. You will be marked on ideas, expression, and support:

Your target length for the paper is 1000 words.

Example of a good submission

Assignment wrapper for assignment 2

Negotiated due date is… (recommended week 6)

Alternative to a paper for assignment 2 is to complete a 15-question questionnaire about research design which is on Moodle. The framework and specific guidance for the questionnaire can be found at this link.

Assignment 3 – Answering political questions (25%)

Each student is required to write a term paper of 2000 words, excluding footnotes and citations. Your paper must ask a clear question, you must do enough of the right sort of research to answer it within the limits of the resources available to you, and you must express the result clearly and without error (ideas, expression, support, or logic, rhetoric, and evidence).

Students may select one of the following subject areas (links are simply starting points for ideas – they do not constitute direction)

Assignment 3a (5%) – QADOR

Develop a question, tentative answer to that question, define or operationalize the key terms (ones with specific meaning for your research), outline the final paper, including your sources and methods, and explain the relevance. 300 words.

Example of a useful QADOR submission – this reflects a lot of effort, and most of the research work for the paper is done. Even if the actual paper is badly done, this level of detail will net a respectable mark for the assignment overall. It’s over 300 words, but a useful step towards completing the assignment.
Another example of a useful QADOR submission – much less work is evident in this one-pager, but there is clear thinking, and the author has obviously done enough preliminary reading to have a workable plan for the paper. The relevant target audience will help focus the kind of information that will be useful to include in the final paper.

Suggested submission of 3a: Week 7 (23 October) Turnitin assignment 3a. Professor will provide comments and suggestions on assignments received before week 9 (2 Nov 2017). After that – you get the mark only, unless you are crashing and burning!

Submit your partner’s participation mark: week 10

0 – did not read or comment
1 – provided some useful feedback
1.5 – made a good effort and improved your final product
2 – very useful assistance in multiple interactions

Example of a good submission
Assignment wrapper for assignment 3
Negotiated due date… (recommended, week 9 – this allows time for resubmission to improve marks or correct egregious flaws)

Participation: (10%)

All participation marks are objectively assessed on the basis of submitted work and class engagement. All students have an opportunity to earn the full 10 percent. If you have less, you can submit more work.

  • 2/10 marks are assigned by your writing/discussion partner
  • 4/10 marks are assigned for online quizzes and responses
  • 4/10 marks are assigned for in-class work with an oral or written component

You should all be able to get 10/10 on participation. The key is to contribute each week on Moodle. Only written submissions count.

Final Exam (40%)

The Final Examination will be held In-Hall during the College’s Examinations Period in December of 2016. Any element covered in class or in the required reading materials may be subject to examination.

The common format for the exam and sample questions are found here.

Important Note:

All course work must be completed prior to the end of the term regardless of whether it is submitted for marks or not.