Political science

Overview of Requirements:

Format: The paper should be 4-5 pages, not including the title page and bibliography (you must include a title page and bibliography).  I do not take off points for going over the page requirement, but will if you write fewer than 4 pages.  The papers should be typed in 12pt/Times New Roman font, double-spaced with 1” margins on all sides.

Citation and sources:  For this assignment, you will be expected to cite class sources and materials to bolster your arguments.The majority of citations must come from class readings, not your lecture notes.You do not have to do outside research for this assignment.  In other words, you only need to use class materials.  You will be required to use APA citation style and include a title page and bibliography page (separate from your page count).   For information on how to use APA citation style, please visit http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/560/01/.


Essay Content:  This essay will be comparing and contrasting presidential and parliamentary systems.  You will ultimately make an argument for which system is more democratic.  You will be expected to compare and contrast two systems, discuss the advantages/disadvantages of each and then present an argument for which one is more democratic.

  • As with any good essay, you need to have an introduction, body, and conclusion.
  • The Introduction needs a strong and clear thesis statement that answers the main question of this assignment (which is more democratic). This is your main argument of the paper.  For instance, “While each system has their merits, presidential systems are clearly more democratic due to the ability of voters to directly elect the chief executive.” The thesis is the second to last sentence in the introduction.
  • You also need to include a plan statement in the introduction that tells the reader what to expect (last sentence of introduction). For instance, “This paper will compare and contrast the two systems, discuss the benefits and critiques of each and lastly analyze why presidential systems are ultimately more democratic.”  The plan statement is the last sentence of the introduction.
  • The body of your paper should address each of the points above (compare/contrast, benefits/critiques, and which is more democratic). The system that is more democratic should not be discussed only in the conclusion; it should be the 3rd main point.
    • Comparative writing tip: In order to effectively compare/contrast the two systems, you should describe how each system works. It is highly recommended that you focus on explaining/describing one system at a time and highlight key differences/similarities in the discussion of the 2nd

Paper Grading Rubric

PS 102

Parliamentary vs. Presidential Systems


¨  Does the paper follow the margin, font, and page specification found in the paper guidelines? (4-5 pages in length excluding title page/bibliography, New Times Roman, 12pt Font, double-spaced, 1” margins).


Please note that papers not meeting page requirement will receive several points off at the discretion of the professor.

Reference and Citation

¨  Cites materials from class, including Shively.

¨  Follows APA citation  guidelines (in text and in bibliography)


Please note that you are not allowed to cite Wikipedia.  Citing Wikipedia will result in points being deducted at the discretion of the professor.


Please note that it is unacceptable to include only a bibliography with no in-text citations.  If you include a bibliography with not in-text citations, you receive an automatic 10 point deduction on this assignment (0 for reference and citation and -5 in substance). .



¨  Paper has introduction, body and conclusion (4 points)?

¨  Does the introduction include a clear and concise thesis statement (3 points)?

¨  Does the information concisely forecast the remainder of the paper for the reader? (3 points)


¨  Addresses all aspects of the assignment (compare/contrast, advantages/disadvantages, which is more democratic [not just in conclusion])

¨  Description of the systems accurate

¨  ADV/DADV avoids simple list

¨  Differences/similarities between the systems are clear

¨  Which is more democratic clear, links back to overall discussion

¨  Use of Evidence: accurately summarize sources, use of source materials to bolster arguments (examples where necessary), integrate quoted material, convey understanding of ideas and concepts, evaluate and respond to materials in analytical and persuasive matter?

¨  Analysis: avoids using anecdotal evidence, stereotypes, personal experiences to support arguments; displays critical thinking and avoids simple summary; evidence used supports topic of paragraph? Is all information factually correct?

¨  Logic and argumentation: ideas in paper flow logically; argument identifiable, reasonable and sound; anticipates and successfully diffuses counter-arguments; does the paper make connections between source material?

Quality of Writing

¨  Is paper well-organized?

¨  Is paper well-written with clear sentences, and paragraphs have clear topic sentences?

¨  Does the paper have smooth transitions between points

¨  Free of grammatical errors?



Total Points:        ____/50

Shively, W.P. (2008). Power and Choice. New York, NY: McGraw Hill.