Legislatures are at the heart of policy-making in the United States. This course will help students learn how to ask and answer original research questions related to the study of U.S. legislatures, their members, and policy-making within the legislature. The course has two goals: to introduce students to a broad range of legislative research and to explore how to critically assess and extend that research.
This course is meant to introduce the student to the legislature, which is the policy-making branch of the U.S. government. An understanding of the structure of this branch and the processes involved in lawmaking are vital to the student’s success in the policy-making arena.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Analyze classic and current literature on legislatures as institutions and as individuals.
- Synthesize the literature on specific legislative topics including, but not limited to: institutions, representation, elections, decision-making, organizations, parties, and inter-branch relationships.
- Recommend new research questions based on the current state of the legislative literature.
- Develop a research proposal extending the current literature.
- Develop a research paper extending the current legislative literature.
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 500–600 words, include assigned readings, at least 2 scholarly sources and the Bible, and demonstrate course-related knowledge. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 other classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250–350 words and include at least 1 scholarly source.
Research Paper: Proposal Assignment
The student will write a 2–3-page (double-spaced) thesis statement and research proposal that identifies a research project on some aspect of legislatures or legislators. The proposal must include at least 10 peer-reviewed scholarly sources published within the last 10 years. This proposal will form the basis of the student’s final research paper.
Research Paper: Final Assignment
The student will write a 7–10-page research-based paper in current Turabian format that focuses on a topic studied in this course. The paper must include at least 15 sources published within the last 10 years, in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible.