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Social Sciences
Research Paper
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Policy Decision Making In Switzerland And The United Kingdom (Research Paper Sample)


• Paper must be comparative in nature, but this is not limited to country comparisons only. Some examples of how comparisons can be done:
o Comparing two or more countries for a specific purpose (e.g., why do Poland and France have different relationships with NATO? Why does Hungary have more illiberal tendencies than its neighbours?)
o Comparing one country to itself over time (e.g., a comparison of Italy’s electoral system before and after 1992)
o Comparing two or more regions within a country or countries (e.g., is religion equally important in the German regions of Bavaria and Hamburg? What are the differences in separatist politics between Scotland (in the UK) and Catalonia (in Spain)?
o Comparing two or more policies, political parties, laws, constitutions, etc. (e.g., are Green parties the same in different European countries? Is free speech protected the same way in different places? Why does Belgium allow dual citizenship, but the Netherlands does not?)
o Comparing ideas, attitudes, or issues in different places (e.g., what are the differences in how the Roma population are treated? Why are the differences between anti-immigration sentiments in difference places? Why are some countries more pro-EU than others? How has the debt crisis affected welfare policies in different countries?)
o Note: the paper topic must have a European focus. However, a comparison with Canada (either the country, a portion of (e.g. a province), or a specific policy) is acceptable as long as the topic maintains balance with Europe.
• Begin with a genuine interest…what country interests you? What policy or debate or issue? What would you like to learn more about?
o If you need to find ideas, looking through the ‘Europe’ section of the New York Times or the BBC, going to www(dot)euobserver(dot)com, or checking headline news in any major European publication might give you ideas of current events to focus on.
o Please feel free to speak with the instructor about developing a paper topic.
• Frame your interest into a research question. The beginning of your paper should ask a specific question that the analysis of the paper tries to answer. For example, if your interest is in far-right political parties, you could shape this into something such as: “What are the similarities and differences among major European far-right parties?”, or “Why do the French and German far-right parties have such different perspectives on globalization?”
• The final paper should use at least 8, non-textbook academic sources in total.
o These sources may come from books, journal articles (make sure journals are peer-reviewed), or reliable news articles.
o At least 4 of the sources for the paper must come from journal articles or books. A paper that is built entirely on news sources will be penalized. If you are having difficulty finding sources, please speak with your instructor.
o Examples of reliable news sources for European politics are: New York Times, The Economist, The Financial Times, BBC, The Guardian. If you have any uncertainties about your source, please check with the instructor.
o Wikipedia, blog posts, Vox, The Huffington Post, and YouTube videos are not acceptable sources for this research paper.
• You are free to use any citation style you are most familiar with (i.e., Chicago, APA, MLA, etc.). Please be consistent with your style.
• Make sure that everything in the reference list has actually been used in the body of the paper, and vice versa.


How Does the Use of Referendums, as a Tool of Direct Democracy, Affect Policy Decision Making in Switzerland and the United Kingdom
Student’s Name
Institutional Affiliation
Most of the governments across the world are entrenching referendum as part of their political system to enhance democracy. Political theorists express the supremacy of democracy which is remedied by the popular voters. Direct democracy through referendum allows both elections of public officials and direct determination of public policies. Countries have established the principle that requires them to conduct a referendum before making any fundamental constitutional change in expression of sovereignty (Renwick, 2018). Politicians always continue to apply democracy through a referendum which encourages public voting to ensure their participation in Policy decision-making. The referendum is therefore considered an essential direct democracy tool in decision making among countries. This paper thus provides a comparison of how referendum as a tool of direct democracy affects policy decision-making in Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
Decision-making structure is a specific pattern of relations between different stakeholders which collaborate and struggle to influence the network of the policy. The power of public opinion influences the outputs of decision-making processes in a democratic country. Direct democratic institutions limit the decision-making process form being influenced by a few individuals with powers in the country like the politicians. For instance, citizens in Switzerland have recourse to the tools of direct democracy thus opposing the decision-making process which is controlled by the elites in the society. In the United Kingdom, the legislation restricts decision-making processes without the involvement of the popular contest through conducting a referendum. The political system of Switzerland has blamed direct democracy system especially on the issue of the referendum which requires public opinion thus challenging European integration approaches.
It is important to define clearly the difference between different mechanism and procedures of direct democracy. For instance, a democracy based on the power of the majority provides the members of the public with the power to participate in major policy decision-making processes of a country. To enhance democracy, Switzerland has been using direct democracy approach through referendum as an instrument of political and policy decision-making (Wagschal, 2014). The United Kingdom has placed the issue of the referendum in a constitution on major issues that directly affects the members of the public. Among the proposed referendums are on issues concerning European constitution, the Euro, proportional presentation and the referendum on the Good Friday Agreement. Other issues that need to be voted through a referendum include devolution in Scotland, Wales, and London in the North East of England. The country is constituting to include in the referendum issues on the institution of representative government as a way of simulating the power of the majority into the leadership.
For the past years, the United Kingdom has not been taking the issue on the referendum with any seriousness, until recently when they feel the need of facilitating public opinion on national matters through voting. In Switzerland, the government officials have indicated no support on the idea of initiating direct democracy through a referendum on a permanent basis in the government institutions. This has been the case as the country’s intention is to by-pass leaders in the public offices. The influence of referendum in the United Kingdom is associated with other nations practicing direct democracy like the United State...

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