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How do we integrate course ideas and theories into the contemporary development project that we’ve chosen?

by | Nov 7, 2022 | International Affairs/Relations | 0 comments

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Objective: Write a 6-8-page double-spaced paper that uses one or more key concepts/theories from the class as a framework for understanding a specific development project currently taking place in your country.
Format: 6-8-page paper, 1-inch margins on all sides, double-spaced. If any graphics, charts, or images are used, they must be labeled in a clear and understandable way–you can either place them in the text of your paper or at the end in an appendix and refer to them in the text of your paper. These will not count toward your page totals.
A bibliography is required and is not part of the page count. The bibliography should be included at the end with full citations of where you got all the information. See ASA_Style_Citations_4.pdf and ASA Quick Style guide.pdf for more details on the citation. You may also consult the Purdue OWL websiteLinks to an external site..
You may cite lectures parenthetically as well. For example: (Lin, Title of Lecture, Date of lecture). In the works cited page, you may cite this as the following: Lin, Edwin. “Title or subject of lecture” (Course Name, College Name, Location, Date).
Detailed Explanation of Assignment:
Step 1: Do some research about recent/current development projects going on in your country and choose one issue that interests you. The project you are looking to write about for this assignment should be specific, empirical, and tangible. In other words, you are not just looking for a general idea, like the environment, but rather a specific event, policy (or set of policies), dispute, or project that is of ongoing debate, discussion, controversy, or implementation in your country. Examples of a concrete, specific development project include a dam construction project, new policies/laws about a free trade zone, a new education policy or reform, new labor laws, a new political party allowing deforestation, an ongoing protest movement, etc. The development project/issue you choose should be either ongoing (current) or very recent (within the last 5 years). It can be something that began several years ago, but continues to have ongoing and recent updates. You can also choose a social development issue (e.g. education, democracy, free speech, etc.), but be sure to incorporate the correct readings to connect the issue to development–in other words, some readings will likely be necessary to help situate and explain how the issue you’ve chosen is relevant in contemporary development discussions.
Step 2: Once you have chosen a contemporary development project in your country, review the syllabus and consider what are some appropriate development concepts, theories, and readings that apply to the case you’ve chosen. In other words, treat the development project you’ve chosen as a case study that can be interpreted and understood through the framework of some of the readings and ideas of the course. Perhaps, for example, you could use multiple competing concepts to understand the development project you have chosen (e.g. Smith vs. Marx or modernization theory vs. dependency theory or sustainable development vs. post-development).
Step 3: Do more research! Look for reliable sources such as reports (from NGOs, international institutions, and government agencies), government websites, and mass (published) media. You might also look at some academic journal articles or law reviews–but there may be a lower emphasis on these sources because of the current/contemporary nature of your topic. This will heavily depend on what you’ve chosen to write about.
Look for how these sources analyze and understand the development project you have chosen. What are the key issues of debate? What are the goals of the project? What are the different sides or groups that are for and against the project?
Step 4: Write an argumentative paper. Your thesis/argument will be centered around the application of the one or more theories and concepts you’ve chosen to integrate as a framework for understanding your case study/development project. You have some freedom and flexibility in what you argue, but this argument should reflect 1) some analysis or articulation of the development project and 2) application of course ideas, concepts, and theories to help understand, articulate, and convincingly make your argument.
Like the previous paper, make sure that you provide in-text citations to any sentence that is based on an idea that you are taking from one of your sources. Please OVER CITE (cite too much) rather than under cite (cite too little) (i.e. when in doubt, please cite). Again, refer to ASA citation guides (under Files in bCourses) or Purdue OWL linked above. Your paper should consist of an interworking of the sources you found about your specific development project and course ideas (most likely including citations from course readings and lecture).
Finish off the assignment with your bibliography in ASA format. FAQs:
1. How do we integrate course ideas and theories into the contemporary development project that we’ve chosen?
One way to think of this is that the ideas and theories act as a framework from which to understand your development project through. For example, to take neoliberalism and use that as a frame of reference to explain what is going on in your project. You can also use course ideas to help you analyze your country’s development project. For example, you can apply Marx ideas or dependency theory or post-development or Stiglitz’s critiques or Friedman’s flat world idea and argue how these perspectives would analyze and understand the development project you’ve chosen. You may also use multiple course theories and compare and contrast them and the different ways they would see the development project. You can even use examples from lectures and readings and compare the development project happening in your country to those examples. Overall, you get to determine what you think is an interesting and engaging argument using course content and what you learn about your development project. I expect that you will be utilizing resources you found on the specific development project you chose and connect those sources to course content. In other words, you might use media sources that explain what is going on and connect those events to course content. Or you might use how a report by the UN or Human Rights Watch and show how it reflects certain values discussed in the class regarding development and how that may affect the development project. Again, you have flexibility on how you connect your sources with each other–just be sure that you are staying focused on your thesis and proving your argument. In other words, no random connections that aren’t really trying to substantiate your main argument.
2. I’ve chosen a development project that is not traditionally economic development. It’s more cultural or social. Is that okay? How should I approach this? Yes, this is absolutely fine–in fact, you should choose something that personally interests you. It does mean that you will need to apply different course content to situate this more cultural or social developmental issue in light of development and the development narrative/discourse (i.e. consider sustainable development, basic needs, and/or post-development). As long as the framework helps us see the connection between your development project and course themes and concepts, it should be no problem and you can make whatever argument you think is meaningful and interesting to make.
3. How recent is recent? Or how contemporary are we talking here? Is something that started X years ago still contemporary? Refer to the above instructions for some feedback on this. Essentially, as long as it is still an ongoing issue with updates in the past two to five years or so, this shouldn’t be a problem.
4. I don’t really know how to use the library (or I haven’t really had a chance to use the library before). I am also having trouble finding information. What should I do?
If you start your research early, then this really will not be a problem (see our bCourses page on research tips). The easiest answer to this is for you to reach out to a research librarian. You can do that on our library website: to an external site.. You can also look up a subject librarian and reach out to them: to an external site.. These librarians are absolutely incredible–they know where everything is and if they do not know, they know how to find out where things are! You can also go in-person to the reference center, where there are reference staff and librarians who can help you without any appointment. You can find information about them here: to an external site..
Also, librarians are also aware of the online resources that are available and can provide advice for contemporary development projects too! They are not limited to just “old” information, so please seek them out if you are having trouble.
5. Can I use X resource in my paper? Is it a good source?
Do NOT cite random websites, blogs, or encyclopedic type sources. Instead, any information needs to be resourced from a reputable, published source. If a blog or website has some information that you used, find out where they got it and cite that source.

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