Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
ARC Logo

Library Research Guides

POLS 304 - Professor Tabares (Fall 2020): Welcome


Hello Class!  My name is Kate Williamson, and I designed this guide to help you with the research portion of your POLS 304 Research-Based Project. Move through each tab of the guide to help you identify, narrow and find reliable sources on your topic. 

If you have a research related question, here are a few options for you:

  • You can contact me directly:
    • Post your question in the Ask a Librarian Discussion in your Canvas course. 
    • by email at (Please put "POLS 304" in the subject)
    • by scheduling an appointment 
    • by calling me at (916) 484-8197 (if you leave a voicemail please mention POLS 304)
  • Use the 24/7 Chat with a Librarian global service. 
  • Call the Research Help Desk (916) 484-8458 to speak with a librarian (note: you may need to leave a message) 

Happy Searching!


Kate Williamson's picture
Kate Williamson
(916) 484-8197

Research Help Chat

Contact a Librarian

ask a librarian, contact us; phone, email, text

Research Appointments

Research Appointments

Library Activity

Your Assignments

Research-Based Project Description & Instructions

The purpose of this project is to demonstrate your ability to identify and examine a political problem or challenge within the state of California, summarize and evaluate policy options designed to help resolve the problem or address the challenge, and present specific recommendations. To complete this project, you will need to identify and use a variety of appropriate resources to gather information and engage in critical analysis to create an informative and persuasive written policy analysis brief and an oral policy pitch. 

The complete project consists of a progressive set of assignments that include

  • a written proposal that identifies the general issue area and a problem or challenge accompanied by an annotated bibliography that reflects initial background research and evaluation of potential sources.
  • a written policy analysis brief that presents information and supports a recommendation about policy options.
  • an oral policy pitch that summarizes your argument and highlights key aspects of your analysis and conclusion.

Each of these is briefly described below.  Detailed instructions, requirements and basis for evaluation will be provided for each assignment of this project separately.

Supporting resources:

Overview of the Project

There are always political, social and/or economic opportunities and challenges in California.  California's leaders make and implement policies to attempt to address a variety of problems across a wide range of issue areas while navigating a complicated (and often changing) political landscape. 

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) has recently issued a report, California's Future, which "highlights the state’s most pressing long-term policy challenges in several key areas".

You will select one key issue area of the eleven identified by the PPIC, investigate and evaluate one of the current needs and relevant policy options, and recommend one or more alternatives.

In completing the various steps of this project you will

  • Select a specific key issue area. The eleven areas are climate change, corrections, economy, health care, higher education, housing, K-12 education, political landscape. population, social safety net, water.
  • Identify and describe a specific, current problem or challenge within this issue area that is identified (however broadly) in the "looking forward" section of the PPIC report.
  • Evaluate policy options that would address the current problem or challenge.
  • Make a  policy recommendation, supported by evidence, and communicate it.
  • Follow MLA Style: 8th Edition throughout to cite sources and format your annotated bibliography, proposal, and paper.

Proposal and Annotated Bibliography

In a brief proposal (of about 100-200 words), you will (a) identify the  issue area and the key current problem  or challenge you will address, (b) describe your initial beliefs about the nature or cause of the problem (and, potentially, possible policy options.

  • A proposal must be "accepted" (approved) at least four (4) weeks prior to the due date of the paper and poster presentation for you to earn credit for those assignments.
  • When you submit your proposal, you will receive a response of "Accepted" or "Revise and Resubmit".  A "Revise and Resubmit" response will include suggestions for revisions and a due date for the resubmission.

An evaluative annotated bibliography is a list of sources - books, articles, videos, or other sources - with notes that includes citation information and a brief summary and evaluation of those sources with respect to their intended use (in this case, a policy analysis brief).  This is different from a works cited list; a bibliography is a list of what you have read not just what you specifically reference in a final paper. Each annotation should be about one paragraph, between three to five sentences long (100-150 words).

For this project, your annotated bibliography will include a total of at least five (5) potential sources that represent a variety of types - news and magazine articles, government documents, books, academic journal articles, videos, interviews, etc.. It should be the result of the initial background research you conduct to develop your research question and evaluate the availability and quality of potential sources relevant to this project.