Step One: Pick a topic and submit it for approval. Be creative! Policy Paper Topic
Step Two: Write and submit your first draft. Review feedback received on the first draft.
Policy Paper – First Draft
Step Three: Complete the final policy paper and submit it by the deadline. Policy Paper Final Version
The policy paper will take the form of a concise letter, memorandum, or proposal to a government official. The paper must be properly formatted as a letter addressed to a real or fictitious person. You may format the content of the paper however you like, such as in a report or briefing format.
The policy paper is worth a total of 50 points.
Your policy paper topic must be approved in advance by the instructor.
You must submit a ?first draft? policy paper by the posted deadline (submitting the first draft on time is worth 20% of your grade for this assignment).
The policy paper should be at least five but no more than six pages in length, single-spaced. That?s about 2,000 words (for comparison, consider that the syllabus for this course is well over 2,500 words).
The policy paper must include a minimum of three quality references, such as peer-reviewed articles, think-tank reports and analyses, articles from major news outlets, or other credible material. You may use more if appropriate and helpful to your argument. Your textbook is a valid source; however, I would encourage you to take a look at other books and references which are available–there is a ton of information out there on homeland security-related topics.
Helpful Notes on the First Draft
The first draft is just that: a draft. It is not expected to be (nor should it be) perfect or complete. It may be messy, but it should not be totally incoherent.
There are a few different reasons for asking you to turn in a draft before you submit the final paper. For starters, you should not wait until the final paper is due to begin writing it.
Another reason is to allow me a chance to take a look at your thoughts and ideas and offer some (hopefully useful) feedback to help you construct your arguments.
Most importantly, it is to provide you with useful experience in professional writing. If you are writing in a government office or business, it is unlikely that you will be the only person working on the document. You will likely be writing as part of a team in which other people contribute to the final product. Coming up with a topic, getting feedback, preparing an outline or first draft, getting more feedback, and submitting the final paper are all common tasks in professional writing, which is an especially important skill in the homeland security and emergency management domains.
As you are working on your first drafts, I want to share a few common questions and pitfalls for you to consider:
This assignment asks you to write a policy proposal letter to a real or fictitious person. Your paper must be written in the form of a letter or memorandum with all of the commonly required features (date, salutation, etc.). See Purdue OWL: Basic Business Letters for an example of what a typical letter looks like.
You must identify a problem pertinent to homeland security that is of interest to the person your letter is being addressed to (this should be roughly in line with what you submitted for your topic approval previously).
You should clearly identify the particular problem you are analyzing. In other words, be specific. More detail is better. Be clear about which aspects of the problem you are addressing and which other aspects are outside the scope of your paper.
For example: you cannot write a policy paper that solves all the problems of terrorism everywhere. You can, however, write a policy paper that solves one particular problem of a specific type of terrorist threat to a particular place or location in a very specific way.
The main feature of your paper is the analysis of courses of action (COA’s). You should present three different ways for dealing with the problem you are addressing in your paper. Example: If you problem is how to prevent a business from burning down, your three COA’s could be: install a fire alarm monitoring system; install sprinklers; hire a fireman to work in the business full-time. You would then analyze each of these in terms of their relative costs and benefits. Depending on your specific circumstances, COA 1 (alarm panel) might make the best sense. For others, sprinklers (COA 2) would be necessary. In major industry, COA 3 might become an option. And there may be some combination of those that works, as well.
You need to clearly advocate for at least one of (or a combination of) your COA’s to be implemented by the person you are addressing in your letter. This is your recommendation section.
This is just a first draft. It should be well thought-out and should have at least all of the parts I have outlined above, but it does not need to be (and is not) a final product. You will be graded on your submission of the assignment within the assigned timeframes. Submit whatever you have written by the due date. At the very least, submit a detailed outline.
I will review your drafts and provide feedback to you. The purpose of this exercise is for us to have a back-and-forth review of your paper so that you can better construct your arguments.
If you have any questions, please let me know. I will be glad to answer them and help if possible.
Your final papers will be graded on the following rubric:
Proper formatting and grammar in compliance with guidelines spelled out in the syllabus
Assessment (presentation and analysis of at least three COA’s)
References and citations