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Here is an assignment from a CUNY campus that ask students to analyze causes and effects and write a comparative essay.

Hunter College
Political Science
Roger Karapin

Article Review Paper

Instead of a current-events project, I am asking you to review an article in Juan Linz and Alfred Stepan, eds., The Breakdown of Democratic Regimes (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1978). Please follow carefully the instructions below.

Specific Instructions for This Paper:
  1. Read Chapter 4, "The Lapua Movement: The threat of rightist takeover in Finland, 1930-32," by Alapuro and Allardt, pages 122-41.
  2. As you are reading, focus on a) what outcome the author is trying to learn the causes of and b) what he says those causes are.
  3. Write a brief (two to three pages) essay, in which you:
    a) summarize the argument (outcome to be causally explained); and
    b) assess the relevance of this argument to the German case, as analyzed by Lepsius; answer a question such as "Given what this author says caused the outcome in the case, which of the causes that Lepsius identified for the collapse of the Weimar Republic now seems more important? Which seem less important?"

General Instructions for Essays:
The instructions for writing exam essays apply to this essay, too. That is, I want you to write a coherent essay, which, for this paper, states at least two central claims or theses (one for 3a and one for 3b) and provides specific pieces of evidence. The essay should be organized into paragraphs; each paragraph should have a topic sentence which clearly refers to one of the theses as well as to the contents of the paragraph. Of course, the essay must be written in complete sentences. Long quotations (amounting to more than 10% of the essay) are not permitted, and any plagiarism will result in a grade of "F" for the paper. Plagiarism includes practices such as quoting work without both putting it into quotation marks and citing the source.


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