Dr. John J. Quinn
Introduction to Political Science
Political Science 171
Office: McClain 111A x4578
This course outlines — in broad parameters — some core ideas and approaches to political science. As the field is very broad and ever increasing, we will emphasize a more traditional approach to study the field. This course will emphasize institutions, ideas, and political relationships between people and their nations, their foundational ideologies, as well as basic interactions among nations. Books are available at both the Truman State Bookstore and Patty’s University Bookstore. The required texts for the class are as follows:
Shively, W. Phillip. Power and Choice: An Introduction to Political Science, 6th ed. New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies, 1997.
Baradat, Leon. Political Ideologies and Their Origins and Impacts, 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:
Prentice Hall, 1997.
Recommended texts for this class include one of the following
Turabian, Kate L. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 6th ed. Chicago:
Chicago University Press, 1996. Or
Scott and Garrison, The Political Science Student Writer’s Guide 3rd Edition Prentice Hall.
During the course, there will be three major exams as well as two papers. Each student is responsible for bringing a blue book on the day of the exam, including the final exam (when you might need two). There are 1,000 possible points in this class. Each exam counts for 200 points, and each paper counts for 150 points. Attendance and participation will account for the remaining 100 points. Students are expected to arrive in class able to discuss the basic idea found in the assigned readings for the day. As such, students are expected to read, or at least skim, the assigned readings for the day as well as the notes from the previous class. This allows lectures to include in depth discussions, rather than just straight lecture. If it becomes clear that students are unprepared for class discussion, then a system of surprise quizzes will be instituted which will be used an additional grade. [Points will range from five to ten each. Missed quizzes cannot be made up without a doctor’s excuse.]
The format for exams will consist of short answers and two brief essays. In the short answers, students must identify the answer, place it in context, and describe why this item is important to the study of politics. The brief essays should show knowledge of lectures and readings while supporting the argument.
The first paper requires students to analyze the role of one of the major ideologies discussed in class, or in the book, within a country outside the United States. Students will point to concrete manifestations of how ideologies have affected the political, social, or economic practices or policies of a particular country. The paper can be contemporary or about a period in the past. Students can limit their discussions to the workings of parties, elections, social policy, or economic policy; or they can address larger international or institutional outcomes or actions. However, clear and necessary links between these ideologies and their outcomes must be offered. One possible approach is to show how a competing, but similar, ideology would have led to different outcomes.
The second paper requires students to discuss the role of politics (interest groups, politicians, corporations, political parties, et cetera.) in an important social/ military/ economic/ environmental issue. Ideas for papers should come from a personal area of interest for two reasons: 1) it deepens an issue about which the student already has a passing knowledge; and 2) the outside interest will sustain the work required to do a good job. Try also to address an area of interest that is important in human affairs. Examples could include pollution abatement, homelessness, the balanced budget amendment, the law of the seas, acid rain, abortion, medical reform, and so on. Students must show the dimensions of the problem; demonstrate the positive or negative role of politics in solving this problem (how have lobbyists or legislators helped or hindered the problem?); and tell the reader which solutions or courses of action they recommend. So there should be three parts to the paper: 1) a statement concerning the importance of the problem, its source(s), and whether it exists at the local/ national/ regional/ or global level; 2) an indication of the role interest groups, political parties, and politicians can play or have played in it. As such, students should address the following questions: Have governments or groups taken action? Why or why not? Has this action been effective? Can direct citizen action be effective? Have any groups been detrimental to the solving of this problem? 3) Students must offer suggestions as to what ought to be done, how it should be done, and by whom. They must also describe the advantages and disadvantages of their proscribed course of action.
These papers require the students to use a minimum of four academic sources. Although these are thought papers as much as research papers, they should use footnotes and a bibliography to make citations. As such, students should use at least four articles from major political science journals or scholarly books (if you are in doubt about a specific title, ask me either in class or after or look to see if there is extensive use of footnotes and bibliographies). Articles from popular magazines, such as Time or Newsweek can be listed and used as background information, or for specific matters of fact; however, they will not count toward the three sources. If there are any questions about how to make proper citations, students should consult one of the two recommended writing books, or go to the writing lab. We will not cover in class how to make proper citations, but students are responsible for making the citations according to this convention. Papers that use citations willy-nilly [not following a consistent format, or a poor one] will be marked down accordingly.
Each paper must be between five and seven pages long, [not counting title page, end notes, outline, or bibliography] be double spaced (or 1.5), have a proper outline attached, and have a bibliography with at least four references. [Students may use either end notes or footnotes. These need to be used when you do the following: quote someone else’s material directly; allude to someone else’s ideas or contributions; or cite hard to find or specific evidence (e.g., the per capita income for the US in 1994).]