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Democracy & Modern Nationalism Project Overview

Posted in AmGov Projects

Democracy and Modern Nationalism Group Project Sections:

A. Project Binding, Cover Page, Table of Contents, and Evaluation

Your project should be bound somehow.  Please do NOT use plastic slip sheet covers on the pages. Collapsible file folders, three ring binders, Power Point Disks with a complete print-out, or any other form is acceptable; if you have doubts, simply check with me.

Your cover page should include the following information: (1) your country of focus, (2) teacher (Borneman), class period, class title (American Government CP or Honors), and date, and (3) the names of all group members.  A graphic (such as flag, photo, or design) is entirely optional. 

The Table of Contents should be completed last (though placed at the beginning of the project) of all the sections of the project and should have each section listed by page number on which it appears.  There is no need to number the pages of the Informal Bibliography.

Provided you did the project as a group, you will then include the final evaluation sheet with the Evaluator's comments, the Group Points distributed, based on fulfillment of group roles, and the group members' signatures.

B. History I, II and III

Each of your nations has a history in the 20th century of being under a repressive/oppressive regime and then emerging to a relatively freer democratic status.  The focus of each of the history sections centers on these dark eras: leading up to the regimes, the regimes themselves, and the successful transitions to democratic foundations.

The most difficult part of the History sections is avoiding plagiarism.  Feel free to use quotes as much as you like - just be sure to cite your sources.  You can cite using internal references (Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe, 1998, p. 64) or Footnotes* or Endnotes (3) .  In fact, you can string whole chunks of quotes together with linking material, just be sure to give credit where it is due.  When you use a quote over three lines in length, widen the page margins and single-space the quote.  If it is merely one to three lines long, include it in quotes in the main body of the text.

College Prep. students are limited to ONE PAPER ONLY (8 1/2" x 11") for each history section.  This includes both sides.  Honors students are limited to FIVE PAGES (single sided) per history section. Text may not be presented in a font of less than 9 points. If the section is single spaced, the font must be at least 10 point.  Sections failing to meet these standards will not be read and will be given grades of zero (0).

C. Human Rights Monitor Report

This is the part of the paper which requires the most current and up-to date research.  Your goals: to show the current state of Civil and Human Rights of your country as they are today. Honors students, for this section you are allowed to write up to five (5) pages of material and are additionally required to present a current portrait of your nation through images, narratives, and/or dialogues (include as an appendix). 

You will want to focus on particular groups which were oppressed under the previous regime and the groups which did the oppression.  In all of this, focus on the difference between "ideal"  and "real" government.  Perhaps your government claims to be based on Islamic law but also claims to give women "equal rights.".  Is it really possible for women to hold elected offices, get divorces on terms equal to those of men, and hold jobs with equivalent pay as men?  Find out.  Perhaps your government states that all have "equal protection under the law" and declares "trial by jury" for all offenses.  Does your country really give criminals a jury trial?  Or does it lock them up for years on a small island off-shore without access to lawyers or even charges being brought officially against them (the USA).  Find out.  Perhaps your nation has some of the best environmental laws in the world - but then ignores them because the system is corrupt and officials easily and frequently bribed (Mexico). Find out.  Your job is to determine the claims the country makes about itself in its official pronouncements and legal documents (including in its Constitution, if it has one), and then find out if it's true.

Where do you get such information?  This is where current journalism and personal contacts pay off.  Engage in an on-line chat with a person from your country.  Download pictures and photos of your country.  Read current news articles on your country.  Cite radio interviews with people working in your country.  Write to the embassies.  Read travel literature.  Ask around.  Read more current articles in various magazines and newspapers about your country.  Don't forget to keep track of all your sources.  I strongly DIS-recommend citing TV programmes, but use of videos (like National Geographic Specials) you are able to obtain (rent, borrow, buy) are a good source of information. 

College Prep. students are limited to ONE PAPER ONLY (8 1/2" x 11") for this section.  This includes both sides but may not be presented in a font of less than 9 points.  If the paper is single spaced, the font must be at least 10 point.  Papers failing to meet these standards will not be read and will be given grades of zero (0).  Honors students are required to submit up to five (5) additional supplemental pages of images, testimonials, or transcribed dialogues.

D. Statistical Comparison Chart

First Step: You will select ten (10) different statistics about the civil rights and democratic foundations of your nation.  Honors students are required to select fifteen (15). Pick relevant as well as interesting statistics.  Stats on refrigerators  per household might be an acceptable piece of information if you are focusing on issues of energy usage and poverty, but if it is not particularly revealing or significant, it is best to find some more topical facts.  Use the resources on the OHS Library Geography Internet Resources web page to assist you in gathering these facts.  The on-line data bases are excellent.

Second Step: Find the same statistical information for the US.  If you get the population density of your nation, then find the population density of the US.  Often these can be done simultaneously at many of the sites.  Avoid statistics where data is not available for both countries.

Third Step: Analyze and write up ten (or fifteen) brief paragraph assessments of what the stats reveal about the country.  For example, if the nation has an enormously high infant mortality rate among the poor, how does it compare to the US' mortality rate among the poor and are the causes similar or different?  If the nation has a predominantly Roman Catholic population, what does that mean for the country in general?

Fourth Step: Organize the information so that it is useful as well as clear.  You may make graphic displays (bar charts, pie graphs), or simply list statistics.  You may put the analysis next to each statistic, or create a separate assessment section.  Do whatever makes the information the most useful and accessible.

College Prep. Students are limited to ONE PAPER ONLY (8 1/2" x 11") for this section (both sides acceptable).  Honors students are allowed up to five (5) sheets.  This includes both sides but may not be presented in a font of less than 9 points.  If the paper is single spaced, the font must be at least 10 point.  Sections failing to meet these standards will not be read and will be given grades of zero (0).

E. Notes and Appendices

If you created end-notes, place them at this point, before you put in the Bibliography.  Likewise if there are any special sections you want to use as a reference (your nation's Constitution would be a good example of this), you can include them here as well (and not repeat them in the Bibliography).  Maybe you found a bunch of other statistics you thought were interesting - you can include these here for reference.  If it is just basic research material, however, place it in the Bibliography.

H. Bibliography

The Bibliography is in two parts.  The first  part you will place in the project is actually the second part you will create.  It is the formal bibliography.  Be sure to use the school's official style guide references to see how to construct this properly.  I am not interested in seeing you make up a bunch of references that don't exist - use the actual references (encyclopaedias, books, atlases, on-line data bases, interviews, etc.) that you used to create your project.  The purpose of a Bibliography is to check facts and help others in future research.  If your paper is shown to future classes and it has a useful bibliography, you have made the work a bit easier for the next batch of students.

The easier (and final) part is also generally the largest section of your paper: photocopies of all the articles you used, all the web-pages you cited, and copies of all the encyclopaedia and book entries you found useful.  If you checked out an entire book but only used one quote from it - then only photograph that page, and indicate the quote with highlighter or underlining.  Highlight and underline all pertinent information you used in your research, be it from a book or a magazine, a blog (online posting) or a newspaper.  The Archivist will have gathered all these sources, the Bibliographer will be sure the formal Bibliography is done properly.  Because of the size of this section, some groups have chosen to place it in a separate (but attached) folder.

Honors students are required to submit bibliographical references (in both the formal and informal bibliography) which include a minimum of ten different sources, only two of which may be encyclopaedias.

A Reminder - How the Project is Graded:

I will grade the rough drafts you present, simply to see how your team is coming along, on a 30 - 50 point basis.  These grades will be given separately from the overall grade on the project.  

In addition to the project grade itself, teams generally receive 10 group points per person on the Evaluation sheet.  Thus a 5-member group will receive 50 points to distribute as they wish.  If everyone works equally, fulfilling their group roles, everyone receives 10 points.  If some worked harder than others, however, it is reasonable for the Evaluator to give "slacker" members (negative) - 10 points (or more, with a maximum negative equal to the maximum positive possible) and add those extra points to the hard-working members' grade.  Thus, a five member team with a slacker could penalize the slacker with up to negative fifty (-50) points and reward the actual working individual as much as 100 (50 for the group plus the 50 taken from the slacker).  Remember, however, all members of the group must sign off on the Evaluator's written assessment of the team.  These points are simply added onto the total grade at the conclusion of the project.  The project itself is graded as follows:

 Cover/Title Page  5
 Table of Contents  5
 Evaluation Sheet (w/justifications)  10
 Evaluation Distribution Points  10 (average)
 History I  20
 History II  20
 History III  20
 Human Rights Watch Report  20
 Statistical Comparison Chart  20
 Bibliography (Formal and Informal)  10 + 10
 TOTAL  150 points, Honors x2 for 300 total