Consider any important and controversial current issue in public policy. Write an exploratory research paper that describes your own search for a personal answer to how to resolve this issue. Begin by sharing with the reader why this particular issue is important to you based on what you’ve experienced in your life and a reflection on where you stood on this public policy issue before you began your research, and why. (Being confused or uncertain is OK!) Then write a first-person, reflective narrative of your thinking process as you investigated this issue by researching the public policy literature, talking with classmates, coworkers, and friends and drawing on your own personal experiences, memories, and observations. Write about how this public policy issue has been handled and how you think it should be handled differently.
Your narrative should include a summary of a few public policy articles (targeting either academic researchers or public policy practitioners), followed by your own intellectual wrestling with each article’s theories/ideas. By the end of your paper, summarize how your ideas evolved during your process of research and reflection. The quality of your exploration and thinking processes will significantly influence your grade. In other words, your goal is not to take a stand on this public policy issue, but to provide a nuanced report of your cognitive process of wrestling with it.