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Political Science 101: Huezo

Researching an Issue in the Community

For this assignment, you will identify and research a problem or challenge in the community (local, city, or county level). You should find high quality sources of information about the problem/challenge you choose, and cite these in MLA format.

Research is a continuous process of asking questions, finding answers, and asking more questions. You should develop questions to guide your research on this issue. 

For example, if you are interested in the issues of homelessness and affordable housing in Los Angeles, you might start with these questions:

  • Is there a need for affordable housing in Los Angeles?
  • What are the challenges around creating affordable housing in Los Angeles?
  • Who are the stakeholders in this issue? (government agencies, renters, landlords, taxpayers, advocacy groups, etc.)

As you learn more about your issue, you will develop deeper, more informed questions about it. These questions are research questions. For example:

  • What are the effects of local and state zoning and other land-use regulations on affordable housing in Los Angeles?
  • What changes could Los Angeles make to local zoning policy to provide more housing to low-income renters? 

Think Critically about Sources

Think critically about your sources. An issue like affordable housing is a complex social and political issue. There is no one “right answer” that you will get from reading a single newspaper article. Remember that the people involved ("stakeholders" like government agencies, renters, landlords, taxpayers, advocacy groups, etc.) often have an agenda that they are furthering.

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