Public Policy Analysis

This essay draws on a variety of sources including opinion and commentary, as well as other sources, such as speeches, policy statements and public debates, to examine the case made for one side of the arguments in an ongoing public policy controversy. 

You should have at least five (5) different sources of different types for the arguments you analyze, in addition to any references you have to support types of arguments or other argumentation concepts, to provide verification or refutation of factual claims and other types of data, or to provide background and context for the controversy you analyze, or any other necessary information.This essay requires you to examine how different arguers contribute to the development of a “side” or a “position” on a public controversy. 

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A revision of this essay will be incorporated into the next essay, for which you will submit a formal draft and a revised final version. It will also require you to extend the analysis you begin here, add a similar analysis of the opposing side of the controversy, and identify which side presents the better case for their position.If, for example, you are interested in the minimum wage debate, for this essay you might examine the arguments in favor of raising the minimum wage.  You would look for different groups, people, and other outlets that advocate raising the minimum wage.  You might look at a Washington Post editorial, a speech by Senator Bernie Sanders, a position statement from a labor union, and at least two other sources, and try to identify what you see as the “pro-minimum wage postion,” even though each one may advance different arguments. 

Then, for your final essay, you would revise this paper, include a similar analysis of the arguments advanced by opponents of raising the minimum wage, and explain which side you think makes a stronger case and why.
You should first establish the background and context for the controversy, including what current policies are, what changes have been proposed, and why the issue is controversial now.  In your analysis, you should pay close attention to the types of arguments used and to the reasoning and data used in those arguments. 

You should also consider how arguments from different fields and contexts work together to establish an overall case for a particular policy position, even though they may proceed from different places.  Your analysis should be based on the theoretical concepts outlined in the textbook and in class. Fir more information please visit

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This essay allows you to incorporate any relevant ideas from your first two papers and to refine and extend your analysis of the use of evidence and reasoning in constructing public arguments.  You should also determine the extent to which the fields and/or spheres in which arguments are made influence the arguments.  You should review what the text and the class discussion has said about arguments as you look at the ways a policy controversy develops. 

A revision of this paper should be incorporated into your final essay.
A note on drafts: Think of a draft of your essay as an early but complete version, which is carefully proofread and includes an accurate and correctly formatted list of references.


All papers should be typed, double-spaced, using standard -inch margins and a standard 12 point serif font (e.g. Times New Roman), using no extra spacing between paragraphs.  Papers are evaluated by word count, not page length.  Be sure to include a word count as a part of the heading or title page of each essay.  All papers should also follow MLA author/date (8th edition) or Chicago Manual endnote (16th edition) style for manuscript preparation and citation.
In evaluating this essay, I will pay particular attention to:
1The extent to which you thoroughly and accurately characterize the “case” being made by advocates of a policy position.
2The extent to which you analyze, rather than respond to, the arguments made in the sources you analyze.
3The extent to which you use concepts from the text, the readings and the lecture and discussion to analyze arguments.
4The extent to which you accurately and correctly cite your sources.
You should also review the general  “Criteria for evaluating written work” as you prepare your essay.

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