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For this piece of assessment you are asked to write an academic essay in response to one of
the questions listed below. Your choice of question should be the same as that selected for the
Essay introduction – indeed you should begin this essay with an edited version of the
introduction you submitted as assessment piece number one.
As you will see, all of the questions listed below are normative ones; that is, they are questions
about what should or should not be done in the future. As we shall discuss in class, a good
normative essay will generally have within it both normative claims (arguments about what
we ought to do) and empirical claims (claims about how things really are). In this essay you
will need to deploy at least one example of each type of claim – that is, you will need to
make a normative claim about what should be done (in response to your chosen question) and
you will need to deploy some empirical evidence that supports your normative claim. For further
explanation of how to do this, please consult the Essay Guidance document that is available via
the VU Collaborate site for this unit.
The purpose of this piece of assessment is threefold. Firstly, this is an opportunity for you to
demonstrate your capacity to respond constructively to feedback (from your first piece of
assessment). Secondly, this piece of assessment gives you a chance to try out two of the skills
that are foundational to political science – normative and empirical analysis. Thirdly, this piece
of assessment offers you an opportunity to delve into an issue or topic that is of interest to you.
The basic requirements for the Essay
• The essay should be around 1,500 words long;
• The essay must follow the format laid out in the ‘Guide to the Essay’ document,
which is available online for this unit;
• It is essential that essays are submitted with full referencing and we recommend using
the Harvard system. In addition, you must make an effort to use and reference academic
literature in your essay – websites, newspapers, and magazines are not enough.
Further guidance regarding this piece of assessment will be provided within tutorials. Any
student who does not fully understand these requirements should seek further advice at the
Your result in this piece of assessment will depend upon whether or not you achieve the
• Advance a clear and persuasive central argument and deploy critical analysis in order to
develop and support that argument;
• Organize your essay so that it is clear and coherent and so that it supports your
• Thoroughly research the topics addressed in your essay and critically evaluate the
literature and arguments that you examine;
• P resent your essay professionally, reference the assignment completely (ideally, using
the Harvard system) and express yourself clearly, in a scholarly style and language.
• Should Australia become a republic?
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