What do these perspectives contribute to our understanding of changes within international politics and relationships between states – or the emergence of new ideas and approaches?
Important: The pages provide guidance on how to write your Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA). Please ensure you read all this information right through to the checklist at the end. Before you start work on this assignment, please ensure that you have read the Assessment Guidance specific to this module and are familiar with the advice in Social Sciences Assessment Information These sources contain support and guidance that you may need in writing your TMA including, for example, advice on plagiarism, referencing and the marking system. Note that failure to comply with relevant guidance could result in the loss of marks or other penalties. There are two parts to this TMA. You need to complete both. On the following pages you will find guidance on how to complete each of the different parts of this assignment. Part 1: Essay plan, forum posting and reflection (15% of the mark for this assignment is awarded for taking part in this activity). 1-Post a plan of your essay on the TMA 05 forum. Word limit for your essay plan: no word limit 2-When subsequently writing your TMA, reflect on how consulting other people’s essay plans on the TMA 05 forum has helped you to identify at least one strength and one weakness in your original plan. Word limit for your reflection: 120 words Part 2: Essay (85% of the mark for this assignment) How does international relations theory help us to understand international politics? Word limit: 2000 words Learning outcomes This TMA allows you to demonstrate knowledge of the leading actors and institutions in contemporary world politics an understanding of the role of international organisations in global politics familiarity with how such institutions interact on the world stage and relate the local to the global; the national with the international an understanding of competing claims about the role of the state in global politics. Student notes Part 1 Approach For this task, you are being asked to post a plan of your essay on the TMA 05 forum and, when subsequently writing your TMA essay, to reflect on how consulting the plans of others has helped you identify at least one strength and one weakness in your original plan. Your essay plan can be in any style you choose, but within your plan you should explicitly identify the materials you have selected as most relevant to the essay. In order to post your essay plan to the TMA 05 forum, you will need to find the forum on the Forums page of the DD211 module website. To post your plan, select ‘Start a new discussion’ (each plan should have its own thread), and either write in or copy and paste your essay plan. Once you are ready to post your essay plan, click on the ‘Post discussion’ button and you will see your post appear. Please note: you should aim to post your essay plan on to the TMA 05 forum at least one week before the TMA deadline of 11 April 2022. You are strongly advised to submit your plan as early as possible. Once other students have uploaded their plans to the forum, look through them and compare them with your own plan, in order to identify at least one strength and one weakness of your own plan. Sharing and comparing essay plans amongst your tutor group should help you prepare more fully for writing your essay, and also help you develop critical insights into your approach to planning essays. The strength(s) and weakness(es) that you reflect on can be related to any aspect of your essay plan, but you might want to focus particularly on how successfully you have identified relevant materials in your plan. Your reflection on your essay plan should be written up in no more than 120 words. It should be included with your essay as part of your TMA submission. You will not be graded on the content of your plan, but 15% of the final mark will be based on your reflection of your plan. Please submit your plan, reflection and essay to your tutor by the deadline. Writing a good answer To be successful on this part of the TMA you should: Post your essay plan to the TMA 05 forum. Identify a strength and a weakness in your own work after consulting the essay plans of others. Part 2 Approach For the essay, this question asks you consider how international relations theory helps us to understand international politics. It is important to recognise that it is asking for more than a description of the different international relations theories. Rather, you need to explore and evaluate the utility of international relations theory in helping to understand international politics. Please note that in this question, international politics is being broadly interpreted, with no distinction drawn between the ideas of global and international politics as discussed in Week 21. In terms of international relations theory, Week 21 will be critical to this assignment. As a starting point, you will need to outline the key elements of the different theoretical perspectives – realism, liberalism and constructivism. However, the question asks ‘how’, so you will need to move beyond description to an analysis of the ways in which these theoretical perspectives help our understanding of international politics. In order to do that you might find it helpful to reflect on issues such as: how do these theoretical perspectives explain relations between states, and relations between states and other organisations/institutions? What do these perspectives contribute to our understanding of changes within international politics and relationships between states – or the emergence of new ideas and approaches? Considering these sorts of questions should help you to think about the types of issues that may be relevant as you plan and develop your answer. Alongside, Week 21, Weeks 22, 23, and 24 all have potentially useful and relevant material and/or examples that could be used in the answer to explore the use of international relations theory to understand international politics. Globalisation as an issue runs across Block 5. Week 22 explores regionalism in international politics and you might find it helpful to reflect on how international theory can aid an interpretation of this phenomenon. Week 23 examines human rights and justice, and explores ideas of culture and power, something explicitly considered in international relations theory. Week 24 addresses the role of non-state actors. Given the breadth of material that can be engaged with to analyse of the role of international relations theory in understanding international politics, significant thought should be given to selecting material that most effectively demonstrates your understanding and enables the adoption of an analytical approach. You are therefore urged to spend time in planning and reflecting on the plans of others (see Part 1 of this TMA) in order to strengthen both your own thinking and the presentation of material. In order to fully answer the question, effective examples to illustrate the discussion from Block 5 should be used. Examples should contribute to the wider analytical dimension of the essay, while also providing effective illustrations of your argument. Focusing only on the example of the US–China relationship, outlined in Chapter 17 in relation to different international relations theories, will not fully demonstrate your understanding of international relations theory and its role in understanding international politics, and you should therefore engage with a range of examples from Weeks 22, 23 and/or 24. Analysis is a central part of this question and the analytical content of the essay will be in the exploration and evaluation of how theory helps us to understand international politics. It is therefore important to ensure that across the essay there is a clear focus on this element of the question. Key sources Week 21 is critical for this assignment, and provides much of the analytical and theoretical content relevant to this essay. In particular, Chapter 17 of the module book and Section 5, ‘How to make use of IR perspectives’, will be important for your understanding of the different theoretical perspectives in international relations and how they are actually used. Activity 4 in Section of Week 21 will also be useful in helping you develop your understanding. Week 23, which covers human rights and justice, includes some potential considerations relevant to the application of international relations, and the ways in which certain understandings of international relations may interrelate, as well as potential examples. For example, Section 6, and the discussion with Will Brown, briefly consider international relations theory in relation to African politics. Week 22 ‘Cooperation and integration in global politics: the European Union’ and Week 24 ‘Challenging the State: non-state actors’ both include material that can inform and illustrate your discussion of how international relations theory can help us to understand international politics. Writing a good answer To be successful on this part of the TMA you should: demonstrate your understanding of the three different theoretical perspectives presented in the module material evaluate their role in understanding international politics by moving beyond description to the adoption of an analytical approach illustrate your essay with relevant examples in order to show how international relations theory can help to us understand international politics. References and word count Remember to include a word count after each part of your answer and a list of all the references you cite for the TMA as a whole. Present the sources as though in a reference list, following the ‘Cite Them Right’ version of the Harvard referencing system used by The Open University. You can find advice on the Referencing and plagiarism page of the OU Library website. This page provides access to: the Cite Them Right website: a practical guide to referencing commonly used by UK universities a downloadable Quick guide to Harvard referencing (Cite Them Right), which includes advice on referencing module material. Your list of references at the end of your TMA, as well as your title, are not included in the word count. Plagiarism warning If you submit an assignment that contains work that is not your own, without indicating this to your reader (that is, without acknowledging your sources including module books and internet sources), you are committing plagiarism. It is an offence to plagiarise. Software that detects plagiarism is applied to student assignments and may result in an investigation by Academic Conduct Officers. Please make sure you note the OU’s plagiarism policy statement. Checklist Have I: Yes No, where can I look for guidance? made sure I understand the question? Look at Getting started in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Understanding the question in ‘Skills for OU Study’ read all of the guidance notes for this assignment? Carefully read through the student notes that accompany your assignment to check that you have followed all the advice and instructions. actively studied the relevant module material and anything else to which I’ve been directed? See the booklets Reading and Taking Notes and Thinking Critically. reflected on my learning, including feedback received on earlier assignments, in order to improve my skills? See Section 2, ‘Active learning’ and Section 4, ‘Being reflective’ of the booklet Developing Effective Study Strategies. See also Learning from feedback in ‘Skills for OU Study’ thought about how best to structure my answer, and about style and language? Further advice on structuring answers is available in the relevant sections in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See, for example, Skill: Essay writing. For questions relating to style and language, see the section Presentation and language in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Developing academic English and Writing for university in ‘Skills for OU Study’; and section 7 ‘Choosing a writing style’ and section 8 ‘Improving your written English’ of the booklet Preparing Assignments. written in my own words? Guidance on writing in your own words is available in the sections on Skill: Understanding plagiarism and Skill: Writing in your own words in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. where necessary, used evidence to back my arguments, and referenced correctly? Advice on using evidence to support your arguments is available in the section on Selecting your examples in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. See also Gathering your materials in ‘Skills for OU Study’. Guidance on referencing is available in the section on Referencing in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. checked my word count? The guidance notes tell you the word limit for each part of the TMA. An answer that is shorter than the word length by more than 10% is likely to be too short to have fully answered the question. An answer that exceeds the word limit by more than 10% may be penalised. For further information see the section on Word length in ‘Social Sciences Assessment Information’. written the word count at the end of each part of my TMA? Check the word count and write that figure clearly at the end of each part of the assignment. set out my assignment properly? See Section , ‘Conventions for presenting work’ in your module’s Assessment Guidance, which you will find under Assessment on the module website. completed each part of the TMA? Read through these assignment notes carefully to check that you have completed all the necessary tasks.