POLI 423

POLI 423, Fall 2020: Paper assignment #3 guidelines


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For paper #3, your job is to predict the result of the 2020 election between Republican incumbent Donald Trump (VP Mike Pence) and Democratic challenger Joe Biden (VP nominee Kamala Harris).


At a minimum, students should cover some if not all of the following in their papers:

  • Consideration of key issues and biographical details of both candidates/tickets;
  • Which underlying conditions of the nation/economy will matter and why;
  • Which voter groups/subgroups will decide the outcome, and why;
  • What the geographic map will look like and which swing states will vote for which candidate, and why;
  • Any other factors or intangibles that merit consideration and analysis.


In addition to expected use of relevant course materials from the past month (Sides, etc), every paper must utilize (and cite) at least threeadditional professional sources, defined as books, book chapters, journal articles and magazine articles, plus three mainstream media sources. (Dictionaries, encyclopedia entries, and most online referencesdo not count toward either of these subtotals, nor does Leip’s site or similar data almanacs.) Students unsure whether a particular item qualifies as one of the three+threesources should consult the instructor in advance.


Again, please adhere to the following submission and formatting rules:

  1. Papers submitted should be no more than 4typed pages, double-spaced, 12-point Calibrifont, not counting the endnotes that appear on page 5 (see item #3).
  2. No title, title page or cover page is necessary; simply put your UMBC ID *only (not your name) on first line in top-left corner, hit return, start paper on second line.
  3. Use Word’s endnote function (not bottom-of-page footnoting) to provide complete source information; no separate bibliography page is required.
  4. No maps or charts expected, althoughyou may make asmall data summary table/s if you prefer.
  5. Save the file as “F20-SG-P3-[your UMBC ID here]” if you are in the Shady Grove section, or “F20-MC-P3-[your UMBC ID here]” if you are in the Main Campus section.
  6. Submit papers via email (schaller@umbc.edu) by following deadlines: Shady Grove, noon, Sunday, November 1; Main Campus, noon, Saturday, October 31.
  7. Familiarize yourself with plagiarism rules and UMBC academic conduct codes: Violators will receive a zero for the assignment.

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