POLICIES & SERVICES IN SOCIAL WELFARE I (39-601-60)
GUIDELINES AND GRADING CRITERIA FOR THE PAPER
The purpose of this assignment is to develop a policy advocacy background document
that orients contemporary stakeholders to a specific social problem or issue so that they
can better address it.
Cover page: Following the guidelines provided in the Publication Manual of the
American Psychological Association (APA), you should have a cover page that has your
name, title of your paper, title and number of your course. (1 point)
(1) Introduction: This section identifies a social problem or issue, addressed by the
federal government, that is of concern to social workers and is prevalent both locally and
nationally. This section also provides a description of the problem, includes a brief
summary or overview of the paper and conclusion that ties up the main points of the
Grading Criteria: The discussion demonstrates superior comprehension and presentation
of the social problem a well as a succinct, clear, and complete overview of the paper.
This section is about half a page. (2 points).
(2) Historical overview: This section presents the history of the issue, that is, it
describes how the issue or problem originated and evolved over the years until recently.
(For example, racial injustice experienced by a certain minority group, discrimination
experienced by those with disability, poverty among children or women, homelessness
among veterans, drug addiction and incarceration among the youth, rights of women,
etc.). Let us suppose, for illustration, your issue is racial injustice experienced by African
Americans, you can start with the time people were brought as slaves from Africa, their
plight over the years, actions of various Presidents, civil rights, etc. until recently. All
material presented here must be supported by information from scholarly sources. You
may use information from the textbook but it must be substantiated with additional
Grading criteria: The discussion as presented with appropriate references (see item “(6)
References” for explanation of appropriate references) demonstrates superior
comprehension of the history of the topic. (6 points)
Appendix: This is a great opportunity for you to be creative. Make your history come
alive with links to videos, photographs, interviews, etc. For example, going back to our
earlier example of racial injustice, if racial injustice experienced by African-Americans is
your topic, provide a link to a youtube video of the civil rights march, interviews with
individuals or leaders related to the cause. Please note: All this information is to be
included in the Appendix attached at the end of your paper. Keep all videos brief.
Provide only one example of each, that is, video, photograph, etc. In the appendix, you
are also required to provide a brief description of how the video, photograph, etc. relate to
the discussion you provided in the “Historical Overview” section. Test all your links to
make sure they work (if I cannot open the link, and see your work, you will not get points
Grading criteria: All material provided in the appendix are of superior quality, description
in the appendix clearly relate to the material in the “Historical Overview” section,
material provided in the appendix enhances considerably the discussion in the “Historical
Overview” section, and demonstrate superior creativity and knowledge. (3 points)
(3) Extent of the problems: This section describes how widespread the issue or problem
is today, whom it effects directly and indirectly, and the trends in its size and
composition. Excellent quality and relevant evidence are provided from various sources,
such as, interview with local city or state government officials or non-profit organization,
census and other scholarly sources.
Grading criteria: Discussion of this section clearly demonstrates superior comprehension
of the evidence related to the current state of the topic. The writing is of superior quality.
(4) Policy trail: Discussion identifies a policy trail so that contemporary stake holders
understand the prior efforts that have been made to address it—at different levels of
government and in the private and public sectors—and in different locations, such as, in
several states or urban areas. From your interviews, is there any evidence that federal,
state, local governments or non-profit organizations have addressed this issue?
Discussion also includes knowledge of how public official and residents have viewed the
social policy or issue, and the ideological, partisan, and other cleavages that have
surfaced as the policy trail has evolved. This is done with supporting evidence and
appropriate referencing using the APA style.
Grading Criteria: Discussion demonstrates superior knowledge of the policy trail, the
views of public officials and residents, and the ideological and other cleavages that
surfaced. All discussion is supported with clear evidence and scholarly references that
are cited appropriately using the APA style (for information on scholarly references, see
item “(6) References”). (3 points)
(5) Policy option: With exemplary critical analysis of the evidence presented in the
preceding sections and with compelling reasoning and argument, this section identifies a
promising policy option that could currently be considered in terms of its merit in
addressing the social problem or issue, as well as its political feasibility.
Grading criteria: Discussion demonstrates superior ability to draw meaningful
conclusions and inferences. (3 points).
(6) References: All references are in the APA style. All reference are scholarly, from
peer reviewed journal articles, and scholarly books (peer reviewed journal articles are
preferred). Information in the paper and in the references go beyond the course textbook.
Information from websites (this excludes journal articles online from recognized
publishers), such as information from state and federal agencies (example, the CDC) that
is for the general public are not included or included at a bare minimum (they do not
exceed 10% of all the listed references, for example, if there are 10 references in the
reference list, only one reference is web based). A paper based mostly on web-based
information will receiving a failing grade.
Grading criteria: Reference list consists of relevant, high quality peer-reviewed journal
articles; may contain scholarly books; very limited (10% at the most) use of website
information and the ones used are well-recognized, relevant, government sources;
reference list is comprehensive; and readings go well beyond the textbook (1 point)
(7) Appendix. Details provided in “(2) Historical overview” section.
Paper must look professional. Writing must be of superior quality. There should be no
grammatical and spelling errors. It must flow seamlessly from the beginning to the end
with progression of ideas and smooth transitions. The paper must use the six sub-
headings provided in bold in these guidelines (Introduction, Historical overview,
…etc.). It must comply with latest APA standards both in the text and in the references.
Uses double space, Times New Roman font type, font size 12, margin on all four sides of
the paper is not less than one (1) inch, the pages are numbered, and the paper does not
exceed five (5) pages excluding references, cover page, and appendix. Points will be
deducted throughout the paper for failure to comply with stylistic guidelines.
Stylistic considerations (total for stylistic considerations =8 points)
i. Paper looks professional without any spelling and grammatical errors. It flows seamlessly from the beginning to the end with progression of ideas
and smooth transitions. (2 points)
ii. The paper uses the six sub-headings provided in bold in these guidelines (Introduction, Historical overview, Extent of the problems, Policy trail,
Policy options. The references at the end of the paper, on a separate page, has
the heading “References,” and the Appendix page at the very end has the
heading “Appendix.”). (2 points)
Note: Paper that does not use the headings and subheadings as
described above will receive a failing grade.
iii. Paper complies with latest APA standards both in the text and in the references (2 points).
iv. Paper uses double space, Times New Roman font type, font size 12, margin on all four sides of the paper is not less than one (1) inch, the
pages are numbered. (2 points)
v. Paper must not exceed five (5) pages, excluding references, cover page, and appendix. Edit your paper carefully to stay within the page limit. Papers
that exceed the page limit will lose 2 points for every additional page.
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