Your agency asks you to make a succinct and focused briefing on a key international relations issue to a very busy senior government official. In order for you to make a coherent and understandable presentation, you consistently monitor events, much like officials at the Department of State, or an analyst at the CIA.
Your briefing is in the form of a Power Point presentation. Compile your information from a minimum of six sources. These should be significant academic articles about your issue, mentioning policies, risks, events, personalities, major players, related issues, wars, or intelligence considerations. You may focus on a regional, transnational, or single nation issue. If you select one country, you must mention international relations issues that impact the country you select in your presentation.
Helpful database links: http://www.nvcc.edu/library/db_socialscience.asp
Columbia International Affairs Online (CIAO)
NOVA Best of the Web Links:
Websites to use as launching points for your research:
- Department of State http://www.state.gov/
- CIA World Factbook https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/index.html
- World Statesmen http://www.worldstatesmen.org/
General Rule for Credible/Reliable Sources USE: .gov; .mil; .org; .edu or .net Web addresses.
Note: .com = commercial.
Sources for Research Papers
Names are important when you are considering a source. Just because there is an author, doesn’t make that person credible. Example: If an author is a person with no credentials in the field, he is not a great source. If the author is a graduate student studying your topic, he is not as good as a professor teaching in the field, who is not as good as a professor of renown who wrote several books on the topic. You get the picture.
Evaluating Web Resources
There are a variety of good www sites that provide a set of questions you should keep in mind when you examine any www site.
Ten C’s For Evaluating Internet Sources , developed by the McIntyre Library at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire.
Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources, created by Esther Grassian (1995).
Evaluating Internet Research Sources , written by Robert Harris.
Evaluating Internet Resources , done by the library staff at University of Maryland, University College.
Evaluating Web Pages developed at Duke University libraries.
Five Criteria for Evaluating Web Pages, Cornell University.
Each entry in the briefing must be documented, using MLA style, to credit the sources you use for your power point. There must be a works cited slide at the end of the presentation. (MLA style)
In Text Citations
You use the author’s last name only when citing a source in the text MLA style. The point of citing a source in the text is so you can find the total citation on the Works Cited page with ease. Whatever is inside the parenthesis in the text as a citation, the first word should be the first word in the citation on the Works Cited page. You shouldn’t use URL’s. In-text citations should be short, don’t use long titles. You should never use Wikipedia, other than as a good starting point to learn the parameters of your search. Wikipedia sources and materials may not be edited by credible sources. Your power point briefing, to be persuasive, should be visually interesting. The use of titles, images, maps, short video clips, charts, etc. to correspond with the research and information you present augment your presentation. Selecting an appropriate background to each slide sets the tone of the presentation.
Arguing a Point
• All thesis statements are arguments because you are advancing and supporting a point of view.
• Persuade a reader to take a side on an issue. Argument is an organized attempt to support a point of view.
• Arguments support opinions; arguments are not right or wrong, but well or poorly supported.
• Focus on facts, not emotions.
• You need to anticipate and defuse opposing arguments.
• Using outside sources, you need to weave the source material into your presentation.
• The challenge is to incorporate your sources, yet remain the author, the single dominant voice in your presentation.
Minimum/Maximum Number of Slides in Presentation: No fewer than 15, no more than 25.
(Remember, slides are for major presentation points. Additional information and footnotes belong at the bottom space provided below each slide).
Grades awarded for:
• Comprehensive Coverage of Topic
• Insightful Analysis of Focus Issue
• Clarity of Presentation
• Visually Appealing Presentation
• Meeting Required Minimum and Not Exceeding Required Maximum Number of Slides –
Maximum 25 total slides for this assignment.
• Conforming to Expected Spelling and Grammatical Standards – Edit and Review Your Work
• Presentation Uses Correct Assignment Format
• Correct Use of MLA Style
• Succinct Presentation
Suggested General Topic List – Your topic does NOT have to be on this list. It is meant to assist you in defining an issue or subject area that interests you for this assignment. Remember, you are making an argument.
- Clash of Civilizations Theory by Samuel Huntington
- Francis Fukuyama – End of History
- Realism and the International System
- Bipolar Cold War System – Deterrence Strategy – Second Strike Capability
- National Interest – Hans Morgenthau – Ideals or Self-Interest?
- Geopolitics and Lebensraum
- The Vietnam War – Tonkin Gulf Resolution – The 1968 Tet Offensive – Ho chi Minh Trail
- War Powers Act 1973
- Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy
- Just – War Theory
- United States as Reluctant Superpower
- National Security Act of 1947
- The Yalta Agreement
- Khrushchev, Kennedy, and the Cuban Missile Crisis
- Who Lost China?
- Project Solarium
- Strategic Defense Initiative – “Star Wars”
- Nuclear Proliferation
- Arms Control
- George Kennan – Containment Theory
- Brezhnev, Détente
- Gorbachev and the Soviet Collapse
- Walter Russell Mead’s four basic American approaches to foreign affairs
- Putin and Power
- Nixon, Kissinger, and Shuttle Diplomacy
- Kissinger in Absolute Security
- Nuclear Politics
- State Sovereignty, Supranational Entities, and Globalization
- Failed States
- Weapons of Mass Destruction
Ways to Use Sources
Summary: Condenses content of a lengthy passage, reformulating the main idea and outlining the main
supports in your own words
Paraphrase: Restates the content of a short passage phrase by phrase, recasting the author’s words in
Direct quotation: A precise word-for-word rendering of the author’s original statement
–use sparingly and accurately; no more than 10-20% of your final paper will be direct quotation.
Using Direct Quotations
• When you feel no other words could adequately express the meaning because the style is so suitable, so vivid that they seem beyond changing.
• To present material so significant or controversial or authoritative, that it must be stated with utmost accuracy.
• To set up a statement of your own that spins off, adds to or takes exception to the quoted source.
• When the contrast of opposing ideas makes the precise wording of the author essential.
Remember that quotations supplement, but can never replace your work.
Quotations have a direct purpose:
• Help you amplify or clarify a point
• Can prove a specific point or attach weight to a theory or opinion
Do not sprinkle your work with unexplained quotations
• Introduce them by naming the source
• How the reader the reason for your reference
• A quotation must be copied exactly as it appears in the original, with every mark of punctuation, every capital letter, every peculiarity of spelling preserved.
• A writer must, out of common decency, treat what was said in its proper context and respect its intended meaning.
Name, date, class, and professor’s name should be the first slide to keep assignments organized. Assume the second slide is the opening to your power point presentation.