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Are some social problems insolvable by policy interventions?

  1. TOPIC: Are some social problems insolvable by policy interventions?

Essentially, I would say that some social problems are insolvable by policy interventions. The module is called Policy Analysis, and therefore the essay is not a normal Political Science essay. I am a second-year university student in a very competitive UK university, and I need to get a first class (1:1) for this essay, which from UK university standards is 70 and above. Please aim for an essay of this sort.

Given below are lists of readings for the bibliography and referencing. I have attached most of the pdf versions of these readings. The ones highlighted are compulsory, and a total of 10 references are ideal. (8 minimum, 10 maximum). Also, a case study must be used throughout the essay to use as an example of supporting evidence and to analyse. I have attached two example case studies from the module but using one out of the module is good/fine too.  Criticism of the arguments are obviously extremely important.

Gusfield, J R (1981) Drinking-Driving and the Symbolic Order, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Head, B (2008) ‘Wicked Problems in Public Policy’, Policy, Vol 3, No 2, pp. 101- 118.

*Lasswell, H (1970) ‘The Emerging Conception of the Policy Sciences’, Policy Sciences, Vol 1, No 1, pp. 3-14.

*Lindblom, C E (1959) ‘The Science of “Muddling Through”’ Public Administration Review, Vol 19, No 2, pp. 79-88.

Nelson, R R (1977) The Moon and the Ghetto: An Essay on Public Policy Analysis, New York: W. W. Norton.

Page, E (2006) ‘The Origins of Policy’, in Moran, Rein and Goodin (eds) The Oxford Handbook of Public Policy, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rittel, H W J and Webber, M M (1973) ‘Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning’, Policy Sciences, Vol 4, No 2, pp. 155-169.

Spector, M and Kitsuse, J (2000) Constructing Social Problems, New York: Transaction Publishers.

Stone, D A (1993) ‘Causal Stories and the Formation of Policy Agendas’, Political Science Quarterly, Vol 104, No 2, pp. 281-300.

Case study: the social construction of sex trafficking Weitzer, R (2007) ‘The Social Construction of Sex Trafficking: Ideology and Institutionalization of a Moral Crusade’, Politics and Society, Vol 35, No 3, pp. 447- 475.

Baumgartner, F R and Jones, B D (1993) Agendas and Instability in American Politics, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Birkland, T A (1998) ‘Focusing Events, Mobilisation and Agenda-Setting’, Journal of Public Policy, Vol 18, No 1, pp. 53-74.

Jensen, C (2011) ‘Focusing events, policy dictators and the dynamics of reform’, Policy Studies, Vol 32, No 2, pp. 143-158.

Cohen, M D, March, J G and Olsen, J P (1972) ‘A Garbage Can Model of Organizational Change’, Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol 17, No 1, pp. 1-25.

Jones, M D et al. (2016) ‘A River Runs Through It: A Multiple Stream Meta- Review’, Policy Studies Journal, Vol 44, No 1, pp. 13-36.

*Kingdon, J (1995) Agendas, Alternatives, and Public Policies, 2nd edition, Boston, MA.: Little Brown, particularly Chapter 8.

Lipson, M (2007) ‘A Garbage Can Model of UN Peacekeeping’, Global Governance, Vol 13, pp. 79-97.

Mucciaroni, G (1992) ‘The Garbage Can Model and the Study of Policy-Making: A Critique’, Polity, Vol 24, No 3, pp. 459-482.

Wilson, C A (2000) ‘Policy regimes and policy change’, Journal of Public Policy, Vol 20, No 3, pp. 247-274.

Case study: the privatization of British Rail Zahariadis, N (2003) Ambiguity and Choice in Public Policy, Washington, DC.: Georgetown University Press, Chapter 4.

Given below are some generic essay marking criteria set out by the professor/examiner himself, so sticking to this framework is essential.

“The assessed essay and exam are your opportunities to demonstrate what you’ve learned on the module. At the most basic level, this means showing that you have knowledge of the content of the module – the lectures, readings and seminar discussions.

However, as set out in the general marking criteria, the highest marks are awarded to those essays and exam answers that demonstrate analysis and understanding of the module content. This means taking the module content and presenting it in a way that demonstrates a deep level of knowledge and command of the material.

The best, and easiest, way to do this is by organising the material as an answer to the specific question asked. Answers that effectively select the relevant parts of the module content to answer they specific question asked demonstrate a sophisticated grasp of the content because the show an understanding of what to include and what to leave out. Essays that don’t answer the actual question asked, but simply repeat lecture notes or talk around a large body of literature, fail to demonstrate similar command of the material and therefore do not receive as high marks.

Because the purpose of assessment is to demonstrate what you’ve learned on the module, it is hard for me to give credit for the presentation of material outside the module content. For this reason, I would advise against using theories or concepts that we haven’t studied on the module. Moreover, a particular theory or concept may have not been used for a particular reason – it might not apply to policy-making, be generally regarded as unimportant by scholars in the field or have been discredited. Using empirical examples from outside the module content is fine – and can work very well – but it is not required. It is possible to achieve a first class mark for an essay that only uses sources from the module outline and equally it is possible to achieve a first class mark for an essay that also uses sources from outside the module outline – the mark will depend upon how those sources are used to demonstrate analysis and understanding of the module content.

Good essays have a clear structure: an introduction that states the argument of the essay and sets out the approach to be taken therein (signposting), an argument and counter-argument, and then a clear introduction that explains why one position or viewpoint is preferred over alternatives, and then ends with your final answer to the question. Weaker essays sometimes present an argument and counter-argument without giving good reasons why one is preferred to the other.

Some presentational points:

In my view using headings within the essay helps to structure it effectively – the best essays tend to use headings. In particular, headings can alert you to structural imbalances – for example, if your main argument has five paragraphs, but the counter-argument only one. Headings also help to guide the reader through the essay.

Any consistent, generally-accepted system of referencing is fine (Harvard, Cambridge or Chicago), though I do have a personal preference for Harvard, which I find easier on the eye and easier to use when creating electronic documents. I also recommend using relatively short paragraphs – each new point probably merits its own paragraph. Also, please ensure you write in at least 12 pt font (14 pt is also fine) and double-space the essay.

Referencing is an important part of scholarship and doing this well helps to give your essay authority. Every direct quote must have a page number and every in-text reference must also appear in the bibliography at the end of the essay.

A tip: starting well – writing an effective first sentence and an effective first paragraph – is crucial. When examiners start to read an essay the question in their mind is: how good is this essay? Your start must tell them that this is one of the better essays. It is very hard to recover from a bad start (though it can be done), but a positive first impression may mean that examiners forgive some later missteps.”

If you have any questions or doubts, please feel free to call me at any time. Also, be mindful of the deadline. Thank you so much!

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