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Cia Group Project Sections

Posted in AmGov Projects

CIA Group Project Sections:

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

Your project should be binded somehow.  Please do NOT use plastic slip sheet covers on the pages. Collapsible file folders, three ring binders, Power Point Diskettes 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), 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 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 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

Give a history of your nation for the past 200 years.  Place more emphasis on the past 100 years than on the 19th century.  Place more emphasis on the second half of the 20th century (after WWII) than on the first half.  Do not neglect the past 10 - 18 years (your own lifetime), though the most current, up-to date information will be presented in the next section (Political Analysis).  The History section will be researched mostly through books and encyclopedia research, not via on-line resources, except for the most current information.  Many of you will be working with regions that have "changed hands" in the past 200 years.  The US, for example, was once part of the British Empire and not it's own nation.  You may need to research other countries to dig into the past history of your current one.  Pay special attention to interactions between your country and the US.  Your country may have a venerable and ancient history (China, Iraq, etc.).  If you wish to mention it, feel free to include it in a paragraph at the beginning, but do not emphasize it - focus on the history of your nation since 1800 A.D.

The most difficult part of the History section 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.

C. SPEC Analysis

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 Society, Politics, Economics, and the Constitution of your country as they are today. For this section you will need to, in addition to doing a write-up, present a current portrait of your nation through images, narratives, and dialogues. 

For Society, focus on the role of women, education, health, welfare, environment, media, and religion.  For Politics, discuss the current leaders, current political trends, established political parties (if any), governmental structure and related issues (scandal, corruption, efficiency, conflict, military operations). For economics discuss business, import/export, international trade, productivity, agriculture, taxes, and capitalist-socialist-communist economic policies.  In terms of the Constitution, get a copy of your nation's Constitution (if it has one).  Some Constitutions are enormous, in which case, focus only on a few selected areas of interest which you have discussed earlier (Society, Politics, Economics).  Some Constitutions (like that of the US) are fewer than 20 pages in length and can be discussed fully more easily.

In all of this, focus on the difference between "ideal"  and "real" government.  Perhaps your government claims to be based on Islamic law and forbids the sale of alcohol.  Is it really impossible to get beer in your country (Saudi Arabia)?  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 (mostly 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. 

D. Foreign Policy Recommendation

This is the section in which your group will offer their opinion on how the United States should deal with your nation of study.  Your opinion should be based on the previous research the team has done - knowledge of the history of your nation, political analysis of your country, as well as understanding of natural resources (maps) and demographics (statistics).  This is the last full section to be written:  it must synthesize all the researched information your group has provided previously.  Be comprehensive.  Should the US trade with your country?  Place sanctions on it?  Invest in it?  Give it trading privileges?  Give it aid?  Intervene in its conflicts?  Invade it?  Bomb the hell out of it?  Leave it completely alone by isolating it?  Send missionaries to it?  Prohibit tourists from visiting it?

Each of these questions opens up a whole host of other questions and demands you justify your recommendation.  You need to explain WHY you are recommending such a course of action, based on what the group has presented in the paper.  It is essential that you make reference to each and every section of the group's project: the History, the SPEC Analysis, the Comparison Chart, and the Maps (supported, of course by references in the Bibliography).

Finally, your task is to predict what you foresee at the possible outcomes (both good and bad) of such a recommendation of foreign policy.  Be sure to think out both sides of the equation.  How will the people of the US view the policy?  How will the people of your nation view the policy?  All of this is very much opinion-based, but nonetheless needs to be backed up by the facts you have researched.

E. Maps

Maps must be hand-drawn.  You may have multiple maps (recommended).  It is possible you could have just one map, but it would have to be rather large and complex.  Transparency overlays are acceptable.  When you design these maps you need to think in two different ways: as a military commander and as a diplomat. 

Military maps require knowledge of the military capabilities of the nation (bases and silos).  It also requires knowledge of valuable natural resources (oil pipelines, diamond fields, uranium mines), as well as urban centers.  Good physical geographic knowledge is essential: if conflict emerges, knowing where thick jungles are, where open desert is, and where rugged mountains may hinder - such knowledge is essential.

When thinking as a diplomat you need to keep in mind all the surrounding territories (never draw your map as if it were a floating island in the middle of nowhere - even if it IS an island, show where nearby nations are, and label key seas or oceans around it).  Where are the tourist centers?  Are there World Heritage sites which would promote tourism?  Where are the regions which produce the most exports?  What are the urban centers?  What are the significant physical features which help orient visitors to the country?

In short, your maps will include population centers, natural resources, physical features, bordering nations and bodies of water, military sites, terrain and topography, possibly vegetation and cultural sites.  Maps should have legends (keys) and be readable.

F. Statistical Comparison Chart

First Step: You will select twenty (20) different statistics about your nation.  Pick relevant as well as interesting statistics.  While stats on refrigerators  per household is an acceptable piece of information, 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 stats where data is not available.

Third Step: Analyze and write up a brief assessment of what the stats reveal about the country.  For example, if the nation has an enormously large population, how does it compare to the US' population and would that influence relations?  If the nation has a predominantly arid climate, 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 maked the information the most useful and accessible.

G. 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.

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  10
 Table of Contents  10
 History  30 or 50
 SPEC Analysis  30 or 50
 Policy Recommendation  30 or 50
 Maps  30 or 50
 Statistical Comparison Chart  30 or 50
 Bibliography  30 or 50
 TOTAL  200 points or 320