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TESU Capstone - Constitutional Questions?
#1
Has anyone here ever done or seen someone do their capstone on the topic of a constitutional question?

I start my Capstone on Monday and have been planning to do something related to the school-prison pipeline, but that topic doesn't really excite me (not that I have to do something exciting). Last night I was chatting with a friend about a few constitutional questions and realized that's something I really enjoy researching/thinking about/talking about, and it struck me that I might consider doing something along those lines for my Capstone paper. I'd imagine it wouldn't be too hard to find sources (between court opinions and law review journals, not to mention the actual Constitution and federal statutes).

What are potential drawbacks to this approach? Would a professor allow it? I would pick an issue (I've got a few floating around in my mind) that is more theoretical than issues-based because I don't want to write about something that's going to be divisive along left/right lines.

If writing directly about a constitutional question is ill-advised, what about the following topic: What sort of political issues/movements/groups tend to employ/attempt various "non-traditional" policymaking tactics (e.g. impact litigation, attempting to call a convention of the states, nullification, etc.)?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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#2
(10-29-2019, 10:57 AM)mysonx3 Wrote: Has anyone here ever done or seen someone do their capstone on the topic of a constitutional question?

I start my Capstone on Monday and have been planning to do something related to the school-prison pipeline, but that topic doesn't really excite me (not that I have to do something exciting). Last night I was chatting with a friend about a few constitutional questions and realized that's something I really enjoy researching/thinking about/talking about, and it struck me that I might consider doing something along those lines for my Capstone paper. I'd imagine it wouldn't be too hard to find sources (between court opinions and law review journals, not to mention the actual Constitution and federal statutes).

What are potential drawbacks to this approach? Would a professor allow it? I would pick an issue (I've got a few floating around in my mind) that is more theoretical than issues-based because I don't want to write about something that's going to be divisive along left/right lines.

If writing directly about a constitutional question is ill-advised, what about the following topic: What sort of political issues/movements/groups tend to employ/attempt various "non-traditional" policymaking tactics (e.g. impact litigation, attempting to call a convention of the states, nullification, etc.)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

My comment is more general, but I notice a significant difference in my own writing based on my enthusiasm for the subject. Beyond the cursory 2-page paper, anything of significant length comes a million times easier when I care about the issue. Good luck!!!
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#3
I'm sure you can find a way to do a subject along these lines. The main issue will likely be whether your mentor requires you do original research, and if so, how you can incorporate such research into your paper. Most people use either surveys or interviews to conduct their original research. I was lucky and my mentor did not require such.

Trying to avoid controversial issues is not the path I would choose to keep a paper interesting.

In my course, the first assignment was to write research questions for three different ideas. The mentor gave feedback on them, which helped me make up my mind (actually just having to formulate the questions made my choice pretty clear to me).
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#4
(10-30-2019, 02:38 PM)davewill Wrote: I'm sure you can find a way to do a subject along these lines. The main issue will likely be whether your mentor requires you do original research, and if so, how you can incorporate such research into your paper. Most people use either surveys or interviews to conduct their original research. I was lucky and my mentor did not require such.

Trying to avoid controversial issues is not the path I would choose to keep a paper interesting.

In my course, the first assignment was to write research questions for three different ideas. The mentor gave feedback on them, which helped me make up my mind (actually just having to formulate the questions made my choice pretty clear to me).

Thank you for the feedback. Going to respond to each of your paragraphs one by one:

1. Yeah, I guess it depends on the mentor and what their requirement is regarding original research. Even if they do require original research, it depends on what their definition of that is - would be kind of strange if the entire discipline of law was considered off-limits by a professor because they don't consider reading court cases to be "original research enough". I'll also note that the new syllabus for the Capstone explicitly says that original research is not a requirement, though of course it will still depend somewhat on the professor. I'm registered with Otto, so I guess we'll see.

2. I don't mean to avoid a controversial issue (if it wasn't controversial, it wouldn't be a constitutional "question"), but rather to avoid a partisan issue (I know, kinda tricky to find a controversial non-partisan issue, but I've got a couple in mind that are at least possibly non-partisan).

3. That sounds very helpful, hopefully mine will be the same!
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#5
(10-29-2019, 10:57 AM)mysonx3 Wrote: Has anyone here ever done or seen someone do their capstone on the topic of a constitutional question?

I start my Capstone on Monday and have been planning to do something related to the school-prison pipeline, but that topic doesn't really excite me (not that I have to do something exciting). Last night I was chatting with a friend about a few constitutional questions and realized that's something I really enjoy researching/thinking about/talking about, and it struck me that I might consider doing something along those lines for my Capstone paper. I'd imagine it wouldn't be too hard to find sources (between court opinions and law review journals, not to mention the actual Constitution and federal statutes).

What are potential drawbacks to this approach? Would a professor allow it? I would pick an issue (I've got a few floating around in my mind) that is more theoretical than issues-based because I don't want to write about something that's going to be divisive along left/right lines.

If writing directly about a constitutional question is ill-advised, what about the following topic: What sort of political issues/movements/groups tend to employ/attempt various "non-traditional" policymaking tactics (e.g. impact litigation, attempting to call a convention of the states, nullification, etc.)?

Any advice would be appreciated.

My advice.
Any topic you choose to write about, create a summary and fully discuss with your mentor. Break down why you have a passion for the topic, how it fits into your degree/learning plan and outline its potential impact. Ultimately, its the mentor providing the grade for the capstone paper, doing something the mentor doesn't want to read or agree with can cause issues with the final grade.

Additional thought. Remember the goal, graduate with a bachelors degree, and ensuring nothing prevents it from happening (pick your battles wisely).
Would the constitutional thesis be better served during a master's program?
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#6
My understanding of the capstone was that you could do it on any topic you wanted if you could show it's relation to your major. Clear anything you're thinking of doing with your adviser before you do any work on it.
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