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Hello. We’re going to take a look today at some important ideas and suggestions that will help you in developing the paper that you have due for this week. The goal that I have in constructing an assignment like this is enabling everyone to find out that if you vote, you can vote intelligently and cast an informed ballot without doing a lot of effort. Now, I think it’s likely that most people, when they vote, would at least desire to be informed and educated about what they’re voting on. But this isn’t always an easy thing to do. Particularly if you move to new area and you find out that some of your elected officials are up for re-election and you don’t even know them. So in class, I’ve challenged the students to think about the problem of how could you vote intelligently? By becoming informed about how to vote for or against an elected official. On here I’m focusing on Congress because really that’s where the Constitution gives us our responsibility. We, as voters are supposed to focus primarily on electing Congress. But how do you do that? How do we judge the people who service in office and determine whether they deserve another term? Well, I challenge the students to think about voting for an individual based on the way that they vote to represent you in Congress. I tell them that when I look at a, a senator or a congressman, I feel like if they vote the way that I would vote if I were in their office, I feel represented if they vote contrary to the way I would vote if I were in their office, I don’t feel represented. So I think the way to determine whether person deserves another term is to look at what are they doing in the way of voting on important issues before Congress. But then that brings up the problem. How do we know? And I usually will ask students, how could you know about how your congressman, how your senators are voting? And they’ll give various answers. Commonly the newspapers or maybe television. But we know that newspapers, television often have a bias. And it’s difficult to feel confident about what you’re getting in the way of information from them. They tell you what they want you to know and you may or may not agree with the stand that they take and they pick the issues that they want to cover. They pick the issues that they don’t feel like covering. So that a possibility, but they don’t. And again, they don’t always tell you what the votes are. They may tell you what the issues are, but you have to be a careful reader to pull out how your congressman, how your senator or voting. And you have to do that on a consistent basis. And most people just don’t follow the news that carefully. There’s a publication put out by Congress with the proceedings that go on in Congress every day called the congressional record. It’s available, but it’s only available at a select number of libraries and most people won’t go and do that kind of research. The information is there, but we don’t have the time or the inclination to follow up on it. Then of course, students will often suggest, well, what about the website for a congressman? They all have their own website. But then I tell them, yes. But those websites exist to popularize the person who makes them. So in every website for every senator and every congressman, their goal is to make my boss, my senator, my Congressman that I’m working for, a hero and tell you all the wonderful things that he does. So it’s difficult to rely on them as a source of information. So where does that leave us? It’s difficult sometimes. But when we think about the fact that we don’t have to do it ourself. And my answer to the students is, it’s actually easier than you would imagine. Why. Because it takes a lot of work to track how Congress votes. But there are people there who are doing the work for you. And you don’t have to do it yourself. Now, when I say people doing the work for you, I’m talking about interest groups. There are a large, large number of interest groups that exist to push an agenda. And as part of pushing an agenda, they watch what Congress does concerning the issues that interest them out. For the overall purposes of judging a congressman or senator, I say look at their philosophy and look at your philosophy. Now, if you’ve determined that you are a conservative than you want to look and see if your Congressman voting in a conservative direction. If you’re a liberal, you want to see if he’s voting in a liberal direction. And the best way of doing that, but the quickest way is by picking out a few interest groups that have rated Congress. And you can see almost at a glance what your congressman is doing. I selected four. There’s actually five on the PowerPoint, but one’s an alternative to that lean to the liberal direction, to that link to the conservative direction. And by looking at the scores on those Interest Group ratings, you can, in a glance determine, is my congressman, my senator voting in a liberal fashion or a conservative fashion? The ones I’m going to challenge you to use in this assignment. The Americans for democratic action, very liberal group, the Americans for the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU, a liberal leaning libertarian group. The American Conservative Union, which has the title says is a conservative group. And then one group that takes, shall we say, traditional moral values, family values, whatever. Usually the opposite of the American Civil Liberties Union. And for that you can use either the Family Research Council, were Christian Coalition, whichever score you find. Now simply by glancing at those scores, you’ll quickly know where your congressman stands. Now I’ve put on here as an illustration. Well, I put on here the way you find these scores. Let’s take a look at that first. How can you locate the scores in the quickest and most expeditious way? Well, today most people prefer to go on the Internet rather than use books. So I say, okay, let’s start there. I suggest a website. And the website is Vote Smart.org. The website is also mentioned in the the directions for your assignment. But this website makes it easy to see how your congressman, how your senator votes. They’ll give you help at finding what congressional district you’re in, finding who your elected representatives are. Now, the website is not that difficult to use. I’ll give you a few hints on this, but I can’t be too specific because they occasionally changed the format of the website. But what you want to do is go on that website. And the way it currently is, they they ask you what offices do you want to look at and you click on offices and go down to Congress. And then they’ll ask you what state you’re in. And of course I’m in the state of Virginia, so I would click on Virginia and they would list the various senators and representatives. If I’m interested in finding out how my member of the House of Representatives votes. I would go down to the sixth Congressional District and click on that. And I would find Bob good lat, my congressman, and his site would come up. And then there’s a place where you can click on interest group scores. That’s what I click. Okay. And so I have presented for me interest group scores, but I notice there are probably a couple 100 interest group scores. And I could search down through and get the ones that I’ve asked you to find in this assignment. Or if you notice, there’s a place where you can jump to a topic. And so for example, to find the conservative score, the ACU I type in conservative or just click on conservative would take you down to there. Under marriage and family issues, it would take you down to the Family Research Council under civil liberties would take you in American Civil Liberties Union under liberal, it would take you to ADA, and you can do that very, very quickly. And what I find is the most recent scores for my congressman, Bob, Good luck come out like this. Well, I look at it at a glance. I see the liberal group gives him a 0. What does that mean? Well, each group pick out certain votes. They may pick 20 votes in Congress that they’re very interested in. And they take a position on those votes. And they want you to vote either yes or no. It’s very similar to taking a test. And so if you vote the way the interest group once, you might get five points, if you vote the wrong way, you get 0 and then you get an overall score. Well, the American for democratic action, the liberal group, didn’t like any of the votes that Bob good lad cast. And the same for the American Civil Liberties Union. Whereas I go to the American Conservative Union, 88 percent high score Christian Coalition gave them a 100 percent family research council 90% A glance I’ve determined. Yes, I have a conservative congressman. Never mind what the newspapers or television or whatever, that’s how he votes. And so I can quickly determine, I have a congressman who is conservative. Now, the only thing to determine after that is, is that what I want? And if I want to conservative congressman, I say, yep, that’s what I’ve got. And I feel that he’s worthy of reelection. If I were looking for a liberal congressman, I’d probably say no, no, I better vote for somebody else. Now, I also add in here the fact that you can find more information, but you need to go to either book form or online book form. And in this particular paper, I’m asking you to talk about your congressional district in the background of your state, how they voted in recent elections? Are there trends? Are they heavily Democratic, heavily Republican? Have they changed over the years? And for that, you need to do a little research. And I recommend a book and don’t know if you can see it or not. But I have a book here. It’s in your assignment, it’s on the PowerPoint, the Almanac of American politics. I don’t sell these, I don’t make a commission off them, but I love the book and I buy it every two years, even though it’s very expensive. This has all the information you would ever need about your congressional district, about your state, as far as the political background of it goes. There’s a similar book called Congressional Quarterly politics in America, But I prefer the original Almanac of American politics. Now to make it even easier. I know you’re not going to go out and buy this book. It’s expensive and it comes out every two years. It may be difficult to go to the library and get it. But we have included a link in the instructions for this assignment. You can simply click the link and it will take you right to the online version of Almanac of American politics. So as you’re researching here, you can find a great deal about your congressional district, about the background of your state. And if you go to the congressional districts, they will have the same information that you can find on Vote Smart.org. And that’s good to know because occasionally a website will be a great help and then the website will close. Then what do you do? Well, you could go to Almanac of American politics. They have the interest group may major interest group scores listed. They have some of the key votes listed. They have all the background on the candidate and when he was elected and the how the congressional district has typically voted and so forth. So for the purposes of this assignment, the takeaway is you can easily find out how your senator or congressman votes use the work that other people have done for the purpose of your paper. Go to Vote Smart.org, go to Almanac of American politics. You’ll find the information you need and you’ll come away and informed voter. Research Paper Grading Rubric | GOVT220_D03_202230
Criteria
Required
Data
Ratings
Points
90 to >80.0 pts
80 to >61.0 pts
61 to >0.0 pts
0 pts
Advanced
Proficient
Developing
Not
Present
90 pts
The following items are
The following items are
•
The following items are
thoroughly discussed:
discussed with adequate
only minimally discussed:
•
Recent political
coverage: •
Recent political
•
Recent political
background of the
background of the
background of the
congressional district.
congressional district is
congressional district.
•
Political background of given. •
Political
•
Political background of
the U.S. Representative.
background of the U.S.
the U.S. Representative.
•
Required interest groupRepresentative. •
Required
•
Required interest group
scores – ADA, ACLU,
interest group scores scores – ADA, ACLU, ACU,
ACU, and CC (or FRC) ADA, ACLU, ACU, and CC and CC (or FRC) -for the
for the U.S.
(FRC) – for the U.S.
U.S. Representative.
Representative. •
RecentRepresentative. •
Recent •
Recent political
political background of the political background of the
background of the state.
state. •
Political
state. •
Political
•
Political background of
background of the U.S.
background of the U.S.
the U.S. Senator.
Senator. •
Required
Senator. •
Required
•
Required interest group
interest group scores interest group scores scores -ADA, ACLU, ACU,
ADA, ACLU, ACU, and CC ADA, ACLU, ACU, and CC and CC (or FRC) – for the
(or FRC) – for the U.S.
(or FRC) – for the U.S.
U.S. Senator. •
Legislation
Senator. •
Legislation Senator. •
Legislation
supported by U.S.
supported by U.S.
supported by U.S.
Representative and
Representative and
Representative and
Senator.
Senator.
Senator.
Analysis
20 to >17.0 pts
17 to >13.0 pts
13 to >0.0 pts
0 pts
Advanced
Proficient
Developing
Not
Present
20 pts
Provides and thoroughly
Provides and discusses the Only minimally discusses
discusses the following:
following: •
U.S.
the following: •
U.S.
•
U.S. Representative’s Representative’s voting
Representative’s voting
voting record as liberal or
record as liberal or
record as liberal or
conservative based on
conservative based on
conservative based on
scores and sponsored
scores and sponsored
scores and sponsored
legislation. •
Provides legislation. •
Provides U.S.legislation. •
Provides U.S.
U.S. Senator’s voting
Senator’s voting record as
Senator’s voting record as
record as liberal or
liberal or conservative
liberal or conservative
conservative based on
based on scores and
based on scores and
scores and sponsored
sponsored legislation.
sponsored legislation.
legislation.
Source
20 to >17.0 pts
Integration
Advanced
17 to >13.0 pts
13 to >0.0 pts
0 pts
Proficient
Developing
Not
Present
•
Reference to lecture •
Reference to lecture
•
Reference to lecture
(Becoming an Informed
(Becoming an Informed
(Becoming an Informed
Voter) is included.
Voter) is included.
Voter) is not included.
•
Thorough integration of•
Integration of all sources•
Minimal integration of all
all sources on reference
on reference list with in-text sources on reference list
list with in-text citations.
citations
with
20 pts
Research Paper Grading Rubric | GOVT220_D03_202230
Criteria
Ratings
Biblical
10 to >8.0 pts
Integration
Advanced
Points
8 to >6.0 pts
6 to >0.0 pts
0 pts
Proficient
Developing
Not
Present
10 pts
•
Thorough explanation of
•
Explanation of alignment•
Minimal explanation of
alignment of legislation
of legislation with biblical
alignment of legislation
with biblical principles.
principles.
with biblical principles.
Length
10 to >8.0 pts
8 to >6.0 pts
6 to >0.0 pts
Advanced
Proficient
Developing
25 to >22.0 pts
22 to >17.0 pts
17 to >0.0 pts
Advanced
Proficient
Developing
25 to >22.0 pts
22 to >17.0 pts
17 to >0.0 pts
Advanced
Proficient
Developing
0 pts
10 pts
Not
Present
•
Paper meets the length•
Paper mostly meets the •
Paper falls short of the 6
requirement of at least 6
length requirement of at
body page minimum by 1
full body pages.
least 6 full body pages.
or more pages.
Structure
0 pts
25 pts
Not
Present
•
Questions are answered
•
Questions are generally •
Minimal use of level 1, 2,
using formal writing with
answered using formal
and 3 headings as
level 1, 2, and 3 headings writing with level 1, 2, and 3 necessary to address and
as necessary to address
headings as necessary to
elaborate on each of the
and elaborate on each of
address and elaborate on
specified questions in
the specified questions in
each of the specified
paragraph form. •
Minimal
paragraph form.
questions in paragraph
use of transitions.
•
Transitions are clear. form. •
Transitions are
•
Minimal use of logic and
•
Treatment of the topic isgenerally clear. •
Treatment
structure.
logically oriented.
of the topic is logical for the
most part.
APA,
Grammar,
and
Spelling
0 pts
25 pts
Not
Present
•
Paper correctly adheres•
Paper generally adheres•
Paper minimally adheres
to the current APA
to the current APA
to the current APA
guidelines. •
Paper is
guidelines. •
Paper is
guidelines. •
Paper
without spelling and
generally without spelling
contains numerous
grammatical errors.
and grammatical errors.
spelling and grammatical
•
Sources are given and •
Sources are generally errors. •
Incomplete
cited according to the
cited according to the
citations. •
Paper includes
current APA guidelines.
current APA guidelines.
a title page and reference
•
Paper includes a title •
Paper includes a title page that do not adhere to
page & reference page
page and reference page
the current APA guidelines.
that adhere to the current
that mostly adhere to the
APA guidelines.
current APA guidelines.
Total Points: 200

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