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St. Clair County Community College Library

Political Science 101-Hilton

This library research guide provides an introduction to library resources related to Anne Hilton's Political Science 101 course.

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St. Clair County Community College Library
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Port Huron, MI 48061-5015
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Related Research Guides

Getting Know Congress Activity - 100 points

The Getting to Know Congress Activity includes the following components. All components must be typed and include proper spelling and grammar.
  • Legislator overview (20 points)
  • Issue overview (20 points)
  • A completed letter/email (25 points)
  • Your completed reflection (25 points)
  • Three sources used in your research of the issue properly formatted in a works cited or reference page (10 points)

Legislator Overview (20 points)

Your legislator overview should be a brief summary of important information about the legislator you select.

This includes the important background information you should know prior to contacting a legislator. This should be about one page double spaced. This component should be in paragraph form and include appropriate citation when necessary. Use the recommended sites to locate and research a legislator.

Remember you must be a constituent of the legislator you select to research.

How to find and contact U.S. Senators and Representatives:

How to contact Michigan state Senators and Representatives:

You should include all of the following information in your legislator overview. This information should be integrated into a brief, double-spaced, one page document.
  • Legislator name
  • Contact information (mailing address and email address)
  • Level of government (national, state, or local)
  • Area of representation (state or district)
  • Political affiliation (Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc.)
  • Brief demographic information (Background information such as hometown, education, professional life, family life, etc.)
  • Committee assignments
  • Recent bills this legislator has sponsored or co-sponsored
  • How is this legislator connected to the issue you picked to research and write a letter about? You should consider bill sponsorship/co-sponsorship, votes on bills related to this issue, any statements to the media about this issue, etc.

 

Issue Overview (20 points)

The issue overview should be the starting point for your letter.

You should use the information gathered with the overview to write your letter. This component should be around one to two pages double spaced. You should use the following sites as necessary to help you in your research.

 

Resources dealing with voting records and bills:

Completed Letter/Email (25 points)

Your letter should bring together the information from your legislator overview and issue overview.

Your letter should be properly formatted. You should refer to the following sources as needed.

Your letter should include the following paragraphs as applicable:
  1. Identify yourself. Tell your Congressperson you are a constituent. Include any personal information which is relevant to the issue. You should indicate why you are writing your Congressperson. Clearly state your purpose and position in the letter.
  2. Using your issue research, provide information to your Congressperson on your selected topic. This should include the Senator or Representative's voting record or stance on the issue, along with any other facts you have researched. This is where you should also reference the specific bill by number and title. Stay focused while you discuss the issue you researched. Keep your letter brief and specific to the issue. While discussing these facts, be respectful and constructive.
  3. You should close by asking your Congressperson to do something. This might include voting for or against a bill, co-sponsoring a bill, or any other action. You should also include your address or email address so you can receive a response.

Remember you are writing a formal letter (even if you are sending it via email or through the "Contact Me" section on a Congressperson's website). The writing style should be appropriate for formal communication. This means you must pay attention to grammar and spelling. This is not a casual correspondence with a friend or a text. Informal language, abbreviations, and capitalization errors (such as use of a lower case "I") will be penalized. 

Your letter should include the following points as applicable:
  1. Identify yourself. Tell your Congressperson you are a constituent. You must write to a legislator which directly represents you either at the state or national level.
  2. Stay focused. Discuss the issue you researched. Keep your letter brief and specific to the issue.
  3. Include any personal information which is relevant to the issue.
  4. Clearly state your purpose and position in the letter.
  5. Be respectful. Be constructive.
  6. Reference the specific bill.
  7. Include your address or email address so you can receive a response.
  8. Pay attention to grammar and spelling.

Final Reflection (25 points)

At a minimum, your final reflection must consider the following questions, in addition to any additional reactions you had to the activity.

I anticipate that your final reflection should be around a single page, double spaced.

  • What did you learn about Congress and the people who represent us?
  • What did you learn about the political process and the role of citizens in that process?

Works Cited or Reference Page (10 points)

You must use a minimum of three sources to research the issue and the legislator you select.

These sources must be properly formatted in a works cited or reference page. You may use the citation style with which you are most comfortable.

  • In addition to submitting a works cited or reference page, You should always cite any direct quotes or paraphrased information within the body of your paper.
  • You should use reputable sources (such as .edu. or .gov) and avoid sources such as Wikipedia.
  • Evaluate the reliability of each source prior to using the information.
  • Additional citation information will be distributed as needed.