Citizens United versus Federal Elections Commission
Draft research paper: guidelines
Building on your literature review, you are required to produce a draft of your research paper. You should find at least two further pieces of academic literature, one of which may (but does not have to) be a reading from the fall term if it is relevant to your topic.
The draft should not exceed 2000 words in length and its structure should be as follows:
(I) Title page: this page will have your name, student number and the title of the research paper.
(ii) Abstract: an abstract is a short summary of the whole paper. The best thing is to look at some examples from journal articles. Book chapters sometimes have abstracts, too (see, e.g., the abstract from the chapter of Tom Mallesons’s book which we read in week 11 of the fall term). An abstract should not exceed 100 words. Given that the abstract is a summary of your paper, it will be the last thing you write – after you know what you have written in your paper.
(iii) Introduction: the introduction also summarizes the paper though it should be a bit longer than the abstract. In the introduction, you tell the reader what to expect from the paper. Your introduction should mention the broad topic of the paper and tell the reader why it is an important topic. It is essential that the introduction contain a roadmap of the paper, i.e. a step-by-step description of how the paper proceeds. The roadmap should contain a clear statement of the thesis of your paper. A thesis represents your opinion on the question of your research paper. Like the abstract, you can only write an introduction when you know the structure of your paper, so an introduction can only be completed at the end of the research and writing process.
(iv) Main body of paper: you should write the main part of your essay with a thesis in mind. Your paper stands or falls with your ability to justify your thesis. To justify your thesis, you require arguments in support of it. Arguments in favor of your thesis rest on evidence which comes in many forms. You may, but do not have to, divide the main body of your paper into sections.
(v) Conclusion: your concluding section recapitulates your thesis and summarizes the steps of the paper which led to the justification of your conclusion. Sometimes research papers end the concluding section by mentioning further avenues of research which can be undertaken on your topic but which your paper did not accomplish.
(vi) References: as with the literature review, you should list the sources (alphabetically by author’s surname) with the full bibliographic information.
The following list consists of research questions of which you are to choose one for your research project in the winter term. Choose one and do not change it once you have started to work on it.
In which respects does democracy require equality, and in which ways does capitalism undermine this equality?
Why is the rule of law important in democratic countries and how is the rule of law support the functioning of a capitalist economy?
Using an example of your choice, describe a country in the contemporary world which is “state capitalist”, and explain why it answers too that description. What are the strengths and weaknesses of state capitalism in the country you choose?
What is economic democracy, and is it both feasible and desirable?
In which ways do corporations influence government, and is corporate influence a good thing?
Capitalism requires that individuals are free. In which sense(s) are individuals in a capitalist society free and in which sense(s) unfree?
Using an example, provide evidence that corporate power and lobbying has influenced the policies or laws of a country. Has corporate power and lobbying subverted democracy in the example you choose?
Assess the effects of the legal case, Citizens United versus Federal Elections Commission, which came before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, on U.S. democracy.
Should non-elected officials and experts rather than elected politicians be allowed to make political decisions? Use one example of a public policy to illustrate your answer.
Karl Marx holds that the division of labor in society is anarchic, while the division of labor in manufacturing is despotic. Explain what he means by this.