You must choose a topic from your area of concentration which is important to intelligence studies. You are free to choose any topic you are interested in or have wanted to investigate but haven’t been able to address.
Your paper must have a solid, pointed premise. A solid main point is a conclusion of analysis, based on your research, that is reasoned and pointed. You cannot choose a main point which is obvious or self-evident (terrorism led to the war in Afghanistan or the lack of WMD in Iraq was an intelligence mistake). You must ask a research question, research, and draw a conclusion or answer to the question. Your research question should be stated as a declarative sentence in your introduction. That declarative statement is your premise or hypothesis. You must be specific, not vague or general.
You should be sure to have a thesis that addresses the topic you are focusing on and that this thesis is CLEAR and UNAMBIGUOUS. If you have any questions about your thesis you should ask them on the open discussion board for the class. It is OK to share your ideas and ask for feedback. Also, if necessary, you can ask me for input (though you are now expected to be able to develop your own theses and know that what your developing is a good thesis. Your thesis must be in the first paragraph or section of your paper.
You should also be sure to have section headings, a title page, incorporate references using the Turabian author-date format, have a corresponding “References” page, and incorporate page numbers and all the other elements of a professional paper.
Your paper should be 15-18 pages in length, double spaced, times new roman 12 point font, 1 inch margins on all 4 sides. You are welcome to use graphs and charts and maps, etc., provided they add new information and support your paper. You should have a title page and a references list (neither of which count towards the assignments total page count).
You should strive for 12+ references (which shouldn’t be difficult given all the reading you’ve done in your program). Be sure that your selection of sources gives you balance, that they are credible and reliable and accurate. To help you determine the appropriateness of a source, please refer to the CRAAP worksheet below.
All research papers have assumptions. These establish the boundaries of the problem, exclude difficult variables, and provide a firm starting point. While it is not necessary to have a separate section for assumptions, it is necessary that you identify them when you make them. (For instance in an examination of extremist group behavior you might note that one of your assumptions is that all the members of the group agree with how its goals are being carried out.)
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