Did the Reagan administration ‘win’ the Cold War?The balance of power between the Republican and Democratic parties in government and the electorate.
The bibliography and literature review will be submitted at the start of term 2 and the essay at the start of term 3. Exact dates can be found in the Faculty Schedule (on Moodle).
Bibliography and Literature Review
The requirements for this assessment are as follows:
The chosen topic is designed to combine a focus on important contemporary political issues and key institutions and processes of the American political system.
1)The balance of power between the Republican and Democratic parties in government and the electorate.
2. Prepare a bibliography for the chosen LITERATURE REVIEW topic:
The criteria for a good bibliography are as follows:
The bibliography should be extensive. You should start by finding all the possible sources you can before narrowing it down to the ones that are really going to be useful. There should be at least 20 good quality sources on the bibliography you finally hand in.
The bibliography must include the most important sources. Marks will be deducted if key books, articles or authors on a subject are left out.
The bibliography must demonstrate an effective and thorough literature search. This does not mean going to see what is in our library and Googling; it means using online databases such as AcademicOnefile and JStor and search tools to find out what the best sources are wherever they are (books and articles that are not in the library and/or to which we do not have electronic access can be ordered by inter-library loan – you have access to everything published in this country). I expect to see a list that includes the best books and journal articles on the topic full stop, not a list of `the things I could find without making much effort’ of `just the stuff that’s in our library’.
A decent bibliography will almost always include a significant proportion (usually a majority) of articles from academic journals. This is where the most up to date and high quality research is published. I expect your bibliography to reflect this.
3. Write the literature review:
It is very important that you understand what is involved in doing this. Writing a literature review involves just as much work as writing an essay and is just as important.
The basic point of a literature review is that when you research a topic or question, whether it is at university or in the workplace, the first thing you need to know is who has written/done what already. There are a number of reasons for this:
There is no point in painstakingly researching a subject and then writing a report/article only to find that someone has already written exactly the same thing and you have been wasting your time – there is no point in reinventing the wheel.
The point of research in any area is to improve knowledge and understanding. It is only possible to do that if you first establish what the current state of knowledge is. You can only know if what you are saying is new if you already know what is old.
If you want to make a useful contribution to a subject you need to engage with the key arguments and explanations that have been made in relation to it and to challenge and improve those arguments and explanations. To do that you first need to establish what the main controversies are in relation to that topic and what the key arguments/points of view on each side of those controversies are.
The purpose of a literature review, in sum, is to provide a clear overview of the current state of knowledge in relation to your chosen topic, outlining what the key questions/issues/controversies within the topic are, what the key arguments on each side of those issues are and who the key writers of those arguments are.
Your literature review must therefore include the following:
A brief outline of the nature of the topic you are exploring including the parameters of the topic (what does it include and exclude)?
A summary of the most important issues/questions/controversies that relate to your chosen topic (as identified in the literature you have read).
In relation to those key issues and questions, provide a summary of the major agreements and disagreements in the literature. Where is there general agreement? What are the main points of disagreement/controversies and who are the key authors of these arguments?
NB: Please note that the literature review is not required to critically evaluate the sources you have identified. It is not possible to do that without a more extensive understanding of the subject than you will have by this point. Nor is it required to make an argument or decide which of the points of view on a topic is correct. The objective is to demonstrate that you have a clear understanding of the topic and the key issues within the topic.
1) Did the Reagan administration ‘win’ the Cold War?