These first documents need to be downloaded and read by each member of the class, as the fundamental guidelines for the course are provided therein.
The course syllabus lists the general requirements and expectations for the course. All specifics for the course and for the assignments mentioned in the syllabus can be located on this website. Check both the syllabus and this website for instructions regarding assignments.
Each professor should make available to the students a syllabus of the course. This syllabus needs to include such information as an outline of the course topics, a listing of necessary assignments, a schedule of test dates, and the grading policy. Why? The syllabus serves as an ‘offer’ between the student and the professor. A syllabus does not remove the student’s responsibility for attending class sessions, nor does it constrain the professor from changing the specific elements of the syllabus.
The course stylesheet explains how to format all papers for this class. All papers that you hand in for credit, except for in-class activities, must adhere to this stylesheet. Failure to adhere closely to the stylesheet may result in you failing to pass this course. At the very least, a student who does not follow the stylesheet will not receive as many points as he/she would otherwise receive.
This document explains and shows how to properly reference all of your works for this class. The APSA is the American Political Science Association. This document provides explanations how to properly cite and reference your sources. The easiest way to fail this class is to fail to cite and reference your sources. The easiest way to lose points in this class is to fail to cite and reference properly.
What information must be cited? There is no need to cite facts deemed ‘common’ knowledge. How do we define common knowledge? If the ‘common’ person knows it as a fact, then it is common knowledge. However, there are two exceptions to this rule: if your entire argument centers on a fact, or if the fact is contentious in the discipline (though not contentious to the common person). In both of these cases, cite the fact. It is better to over-cite than under-cite.
Wikipedia is a wonderful encyclopedia, and Dictionary.com is a fantastic dictionary—both are available online 24/7/365. However, neither are acceptable sources for any work you do in this course. The reason Wikipedia is not acceptable is identical to the reasons encyclopedias are not, in general, acceptable: they are excellent quaternary sources. A primary source is a first-hand account of an event. A secondary source is an analysis using primary sources. A tertiary source is summary or compilation of primary and/or secondary sources. Each level we move out introduces inaccuracies and blurring of the differences between terms and theories within the discipline. Encyclopedias are quaternary sources. As such, they give good general background on items, but do not successfully distinguish the fine shades of meaning. This is also the reason using dictionaries is not acceptable. The audiences are the general public. As such, words are used in different ways than we use them in the discipline.
The First Examination
Your first examination for the course is coming up soon. When faced with one's first examination in a course, the usual questions focus on the structure of the examination and the material covered. This document should answer these questions. Also, to help you attain the level of mastery that you seek, all of the PowerPoints and Outlines have been posted in the 'Lectures' section of this site. Use all of this material wisely, for you are wise, indeed, grasshopper.
Make sure you bring a clean blue book on the first day of the examination.
The Final Examination
This is a copy of the instructions for the final examination. You will email your examination to me as an attachment in one of the following three formats: Adobe portable document format (.pdf), Microsoft document (.doc), or rich text format (.rtf). Every word processor of any import in the Western world can save in .rtf. If you have WordPerfect, save in .rtf or .pdf. If you have MS Word 2007, save in .rtf or .doc; do not save in .docx. If you use Open Office, save in .doc or .rtf.
This examination is due in my emailbox at 11:40am on Friday, December 14, 2007. Failure to get your examination to me in the appropriate format by the due time will result in a failure for the examination. I will acknowledge when I receive your examination.
The Research Paper
This document provides explanations of each of the requirements, including due dates, for the research paper due in this course. The research paper that you write will answer a research question of your choosing. The three fundamental parts to the paper are the research question, the literature review, and the case study. You are also to present your findings to the class. Your presentation will last no more than 10 minutes, but more than 7, and will cover the most important points of your paper in a coherent presentation.