Four Memos - Center for Writing

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Four Memos
Jennifer Lobasz
Political Science 3835: International Relations Theory
Memo #1—Realism—Due February 12, 2008
Background: You are a research assistant at a business or non-profit organization with
international interests. The head of your organization is particularly interested in Issue X, and has
come to the international relations expert—you—for guidance.
Assignment: Write a 3-4 page memo explaining to your boss how realism can be used to
understand Issue X. You may choose any issue that is covered on the syllabus, but you must
address the same issue in all four of your memos and your final paper.
Guidelines:

The first 2 pages should summarize the most important elements of realism. Your tone should
be professional—this is your boss, after all—but you should not assume any prior knowledge of
IR theory, so be sure to define any new terms.

The remaining 1-2 pages should explain how realism can be used to understand Issue X.

The first paragraph should include a thesis statement that resembles the following: “A realist
framework explains ABC aspects of Issue X” or “Realism enhances understanding of Issue X
through doing QRS.”

You must specify whether you are covering classical realism, neorealism, or shared elements of
both.

Outside sources are unnecessary but permitted. You should incorporate the readings assigned
for Issue X even if they have not yet been covered in class.

Provide an in-text citation such as (Waltz 35) every time you restate information from the
readings. Direct quotes should be placed inside of quotation marks and cited.

Memos should be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and a 12 point standard font.

In the heading, include your name, the date, the course number, and “Subject: Issue X Realism.” Do not include a separate title page.
center for writing | UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
This material is intended to give ideas for teaching and learning activities.
Posted with permission. Copyright belongs to the creator.
© 2010 Jennifer Lobasz
page 1

At the end of the memo, include a “Works Cited” section with all of your sources listed in a
standard citation format (e.g. MLA, Chicago, or Harvard).

Memos should be saved as follows: FirstNameLastNameMemo1.doc

Do not save memos in the .docx (Microsoft Office 2007) format. “Save as” .doc or .rtf

Email your memo by 5 pm on the due date
Evaluation: Memos will be evaluated with a / system. The first memo will be graded
solely on the basis of whether you have followed the directions above. Memos that are turned in
but do not meet the evaluation criteria will receive a . Memos that do meet the evaluation
criteria will receive a .
It is in your interest to do the best job possible, as this memo could eventually make up (in a
revised form) approximately 1/3 of your final paper.
Memo #2—Neoliberal Institutionalism (NLI) or Liberalism—Due March 2,
2008
Background: You are a research assistant at a business or non-profit organization with
international interests. The head of your organization is particularly interested in Issue X, and has
come to the international relations expert—you—for guidance.
Assignment: Write a 3-4 page memo explaining to your boss how NLI or liberalism can be used
to understand Issue X. You may choose any issue that is covered on the syllabus, but you must
address the same issue in all four of your memos and your final paper.
Guidelines:

The first 2 pages should summarize the most important elements of NLI or liberalism. Your tone
should be professional—this is your boss, after all—but you should not assume any prior
knowledge of IR theory, so be sure to define any new terms.

The remaining 1-2 pages should explain how NLI or liberalism can be used to understand Issue X.

The first paragraph should include a thesis statement that resembles the following: “A liberal
framework explains ABC aspects of Issue X” or “Neoliberal institutionalism enhances
understanding of Issue X through doing QRS.”

You must specify whether you are covering liberalism or neoliberal institutionalism
center for writing | UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
This material is intended to give ideas for teaching and learning activities.
Posted with permission. Copyright belongs to the creator.
© 2010 Jennifer Lobasz
page 2

Outside sources are unnecessary but permitted. You should incorporate the readings assigned
for Issue X even if they have not yet been covered in class.

Provide an in-text citation such as (Waltz 35) every time you restate information from the
readings. Direct quotes should be placed inside of quotation marks and cited.

Memos should be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and a 12 point standard font.

In the heading, include your name, the date, the course number, and “Subject: Issue X Realism.” Do not include a separate title page.

At the end of the memo, include a “Works Cited” section with all of your sources listed in a
standard citation format (e.g. MLA, Chicago, or Harvard).

Memos should be saved as follows: FirstNameLastNameMemo1.doc

Do not save memos in the .docx (Microsoft Office 2007) format. “Save as” .doc or .rtf

Email your memo by 5 pm on the due date to xxx, and your two peer responders.
Evaluation: Memos will be evaluated with a / system. The first memo will be graded
solely on the basis of whether you have followed the directions above. Memos that are turned in
but do not meet the evaluation criteria will receive a . Memos that do meet the evaluation
criteria will receive a .
It is in your interest to do the best job possible, as this memo could eventually make up (in a
revised form) approximately 1/3 of your final paper.
Memo #3—Constructivism—Due April 1, 2008
Background: You are a research assistant at a business or non-profit organization with
international interests. The head of your organization is particularly interested in Issue X, and has
come to the international relations expert—you—for guidance.
Assignment: Write a 3-4 page memo explaining to your boss how constructivism can be used to
understand Issue X. You may choose any issue that is covered on the syllabus, but you must
address the same issue in all four of your memos and your final paper.
Guidelines:

The first 2 pages should summarize the most important elements of constructivism. Your tone
should be professional—this is your boss, after all—but you should not assume any prior
knowledge of IR theory, so be sure to define any new terms.
center for writing | UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
This material is intended to give ideas for teaching and learning activities.
Posted with permission. Copyright belongs to the creator.
© 2010 Jennifer Lobasz
page 3

The remaining 1-2 pages should explain how constructivism can be used to understand Issue X.

The first paragraph should include a thesis statement that resembles the following: “A
constructivist framework explains ABC aspects of Issue X” or “Constructivism enhances
understanding of Issue X through doing QRS.”

Outside sources are unnecessary but permitted. You should incorporate the readings assigned
for Issue X even if they have not yet been covered in class.

Provide an in-text citation such as (Waltz 35) every time you restate information from the
readings. Direct quotes should be placed inside of quotation marks and cited.

Memos should be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and a 12 point standard font.

In the heading, include your name, the date, the course number, and “Subject: Issue X Constructivism.” Do not include a separate title page.

At the end of the memo, include a “Works Cited” section with all of your sources listed in a
standard citation format (e.g. MLA, Chicago, or Harvard).

Memos should be saved as follows: FirstNameLastNameMemo1.doc

DO NOT save memos in the .docx (Microsoft Office 2007) format. “Save as” .doc or .rtf

Email your memo by 5 pm on the due date to xxx
Evaluation: Memos will be evaluated with a / system. The first memo will be graded
solely on the basis of whether you have followed the directions above. Memos that are turned in
but do not meet the evaluation criteria will receive a . Memos that do meet the evaluation
criteria will receive a .
It is in your interest to do the best job possible, as this memo could eventually make up (in a
revised form) approximately 1/3 of your final paper.
Memo #4—Alternative approaches—April 13, 2008
Background: You are a research assistant at a business or non-profit organization with
international interests. The head of your organization is particularly interested in Issue X, and has
come to the international relations expert—you—for guidance.
Assignment: Write a 3-4 page memo explaining to your boss how one of the alternative
approaches can be used to understand Issue X. You may choose political psychology, feminism,
Marxism, or post-structuralism as your theoretical approach.
center for writing | UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
This material is intended to give ideas for teaching and learning activities.
Posted with permission. Copyright belongs to the creator.
© 2010 Jennifer Lobasz
page 4
Guidelines:

The first 2 pages should summarize the most important elements of the theory. Your tone
should be professional—this is your boss, after all—but you should not assume any prior
knowledge of IR theory, so be sure to define any new terms.

The remaining 1-2 pages should explain how the theory can be used to understand Issue X.

The first paragraph should include a thesis statement that resembles the following: “A liberal
framework explains ABC aspects of Issue X” or “Neoliberal institutionalism enhances
understanding of Issue X through doing QRS.”

Outside sources are unnecessary but permitted. You should incorporate the readings assigned
for Issue X even if they have not yet been covered in class.

Provide an in-text citation such as (Waltz 35) every time you restate information from the
readings. Direct quotes should be placed inside of quotation marks and cited.

Memos should be double-spaced, with 1 inch margins and a 12 point standard font.

In the heading, include your name, the date, the course number, and “Subject: Issue X Realism.” Do not include a separate title page.

At the end of the memo, include a “Works Cited” section with all of your sources listed in a
standard citation format (e.g. MLA, Chicago, or Harvard).

Memos should be saved as follows: FirstNameLastNameMemo1.doc

Do not save memos in the .docx (Microsoft Office 2007) format. “Save as” .doc or .rtf

Email your memo by 5 pm on the due date to xxx and your two peer responders.
Evaluation: Memos will be evaluated with a / system. The first memo will be graded
solely on the basis of whether you have followed the directions above. Memos that are turned in
but do not meet the evaluation criteria will receive a . Memos that do meet the evaluation
criteria will receive a .
It is in your interest to do the best job possible, as this memo could eventually make up (in a
revised form) approximately 1/3 of your final paper.
center for writing | UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA
This material is intended to give ideas for teaching and learning activities.
Posted with permission. Copyright belongs to the creator.
© 2010 Jennifer Lobasz
page 5
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