POLL/INTERVIEW WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Instructions & Requirements
For this assignment, you will need to conduct a public opinion poll and write an analytical piece about your findings. We all feel differently about government, law, and policy, however many individuals find themselves unable to fully explain why they stand on one side or the other of a particular issue. This assignment allows you to choose a piece of pending legislation (not yet adopted or rejected) that you find interesting. You will need to practice your analysis, critical thinking, and writing skills to perform well on this assignment.
Poll and interview at least 10 different individuals on a piece of pending legislation that you find interesting.
Your report must be at least 3 double-spaced pages of text (not including area taken up by graphs) with normal margins and 12 point Arial font, in a Microsoft Word document. This equates to approximately 1,500 words.
Follow these steps:
1. Read the textbook chapter on Public Opinion to get a good idea about polling methods and public opinion.
2. Select a piece of pending legislation from https://www.govtrack.us/ with a yes/no or pro/con answer. BE SPECIFIC. Avoid overdone topics, such as those listed under d) below.
a) You can conduct your poll and gather responses in person or conduct it online, perhaps via a social media outlet. Be creative.
b) This assignment is about analyzing public opinion. This assignment is NOT an opportunity for you to rant or soapbox about any topic. Avoid this mistake . You must be objective and present information in an unbiased and neutral manner.
c) This is a course on Federal Government. Make sure the pending legislation you choose is a current one (not a hypothetical or historical). Using the https://www.govtrack.us/ site will ensure that you meet this criteria.
d) There are so many topics to choose from! Choose something that interests you personally. Look at newspapers for current topics if you are having difficulty. If you are unsure if your question meets all of the above standards, please ask.
Avoid overdone/obvious topics . The following topics are off limits: Gun control, Abortion, The Affordable Care Act, No Child Left Behind, immigration/DACA, etc. or anything else that is obviously overdone – if you’re not sure, ask me!
Instead, consider public health, commerce, transportation, space, science, etc.
3. Ask each respondent to describe exactly why they feel the way they do about the topic. Why, exactly, do they think it should be passed or rejected? Remember that you should ask all of your respondents the same set of questions. You will need detailed responses in order to have enough information to compile the qualitative portion of your report analysis.
4. Compile your poll results, both quantitative (numerical) and qualitative (descriptive information) into a report. You must cover the following information in your report:
· Provide the numerical data results in chart form (pie charts, bar charts, line charts, etc.)
· Identify and describe common themes in the answers you received.
· Were there differing reasons for the yesses and the noes? If yes, describe them. If no, why might the answers be so similar? Is there bias? How?
· Did any of the respondent’s answers cause you to reconsider your own stance on the issue? If so, how?
5. Write as though you are a completely objective and neutral reporter, until the very last paragraph.
· 95% of this report should be about your analysis of the polling results, and not your personal opinion. It can be difficult to remain neutral and objective!
· Do not report your interviewee’s answer word for word. Boring! Analyze the common themes and items of note that are interesting and relevant. A quote or two of interest is okay, but the paper should be in your own words.
HELPFUL HINTS & STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR WRITING YOUR PAPER
Report Title: Come up with a creative and informative title for your report that is concise, descriptive, and interesting. “Interview Assignment Report” doesn’t cut it. Think about news article titles, or look through academic journals for article title ideas. What would capture a potential reader’s interest?
Paragraph/Section 1: Your first paragraph is a short introduction. It should describe, in detail, the topic area that you chose, why this topic is important, and any other relevant information. What is the title of the bill? Bill #? Who proposed the bill? When? Refrain from using personal pronouns (I, me, myself, we, us, you, your, he, her, him, they, them, etc.). Use college-level essay style and format at all times. For example, instead of “I asked her…” you might say “the interviewee was asked…”
Paragraph/Section 2: Your second paragraph should provide detail regarding data collection methods used and quantitative analysis (numerical) of the data that was collected. Include when data was collected, detailed information on your chosen method of polling, why it was chosen, what exact questions you asked, why you chose specific wording for your questions, etc. Your second section should also include your data results in table and/or graph format. Be sure to label your tables and graphs appropriately. Analyze the data. Refrain from using personal pronouns.
Paragraph/Section 3: Your third section should provide detail related to your respondents’ descriptive answers (their explanations of why they said yes/no or agreed/disagreed). Identify common themes in the answers you received. Where there differing reasons for the yesses and the noes? Describe these differences and talk about their importance. If not, why might the answers be so similar? Refrain from using personal pronouns.
Paragraph/Section 4: Did any of the respondent’s answers cause you to reconsider your own stance on the issue? If so, how? If not, why not? In this section, you are talking about your own interpretation of the results, so you can use personal pronouns (I me, myself, my, etc.).
Paragraph/Section 5: Conclusion. Create a summary of your findings in a few short sentences. Remember, your first and last paragraphs are the bookends to your report.
You will be graded based on content, analysis, and organization of your report according to the rubric below. You report must be in a professional, college-level format and follow all of the requirements above.
HOW TO SUBMIT THE WRITING PORTION OF THE ASSIGNMENT:
Upload in BlackBoard
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