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How to Write a Political Science Research Paper

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❶Lisa Baglione received her Ph. Cambridge University Press, Edward R.

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Types of Political Science Writing
Department of Political Science

You can underscore your contribution to the literature without claiming that you have, for example, refuted all that has been written on your topic hitherto or created a "new paradigm.

Take care to identify the limitations of your findings or even some of the questionable parts of your analysis. Doing this will, if not immunize your work against criticism, at least allow you to get a jump on addressing some of the critiques that will be leveled at your work. Do not sprinkle your conclusion with "questions for future research" This is a complement of the above.

Bear in mind that you are a novice researcher. It is more than a bit presumptuous to claim that your piece can be the foundation upon which other scholars will build.

Avoid boilerplate phrases such as "time will tell" or "no one can know for sure" Conclusions are notorious for vaporous phrases that leave readers wondering, "What does that mean? Short, tightly constructed and -argued conclusions are preferable to voluble, flabby conclusions that do not advance your case.

For Further Reading Howard S. University of Chicago Press, Wayne C. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Gregory M. Scott and Stephen M. Smith, and Tarek Masoud eds.

Cambridge University Press, Edward R. Tufte, Envisioning Information Cheshire, Conn.: Working with Political Science Research Methods: Special offers and product promotions Pre-order Price Guarantee! Order now and if the Amazon. Here's how restrictions apply. About the Author Lisa A. Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review.

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Frequency Jones Top Contributor: This is the book I wished I had bought when i had decided on my major.

This is the book that helps you map out the paper and helps you distinguish between the paper you want to write and the paper your professor is looking for. Because they are very, very different. Sure, writing about the Iranian Revolution and its impact on United States foreign policy is cool. But what point does it have if you yourself don't draw a line in the sand and say the U.

Not only do you have to draw that line but you have to argue and counter-argue your own points and raise any objections readers may have before you attempt to toss their criticisms to shreds. This book does that and in the most elegant of ways. In the academic community, that's a BIG deal.

The paper was written well before the current political system seized power and actual bipartisanship could and often times did exist. Anyway, buy this book if you're a political science major. You'd be dumb if you didn't. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. Very good lecture on how to write good research papers.

Especially as a non-english native speaker I find this very helpful, as it is written in easy language and if you keep reading this side-by-side when you start your research project, it is very convenient! I used this book when I was doing my undergrad work and it is an excellent reference guide, especially if you do a capstone or senior thesis.

It's easy to understand and can provide you a framework to work off of. Needless to say I lent my copy to a friend who didn't return it, so when I decided to go to grad school I immediately purchased another copy. The great 18th century British writer Samuel Johnson put it, "What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure. Answer the assigned question and write on the assigned topic. Even if you are uncertain about the answer, it is better to argue that the available information is too thin or too contradictory to justify taking a position than to duck the question altogether.

This is not to say that there is always a single right answer to every political-science question. But even when intelligent, informed people disagree, they must focus on the question at hand in order to advance the debate.

Be sure to follow any instructions on the assignment, e. Make an argument, supported by evidence and logic. It need not be an extreme or all-or-nothing argument; you should qualify your bottom line as you see fit see 1. Make sure that your claims and support for them are clear in your own mind, and articulate them clearly to the reader.

Explain why the evidence and reasons you present support your thesis, and do this for your sub-claims as well. Find and use relevant research when required.

If the assignment asks you to do research, find sources or other information that is as directly relevant and useful as possible for your argument. Minimize unsupported opinion and arguments from authority.

An argument from authority is a claim that something is true because a particular expert says so. A variation on this is relying on your own undefended opinions: Sometimes we have to rely on experts' opinions on esoteric matters, but it is always better to provide supporting evidence and logic yourself. Address counter-arguments and counter-examples.

Put yourself in the shoes of a skeptical reader and ask yourself how they might object to your argument and evidence. If these objections can be refuted, do so; otherwise qualify your position e. These citations should always include an unambiguous source reference and page number or numbers , unless you are referring to the general findings of an entire book or article.

This includes required readings in your courses. Often, a single citation at the end of a paragraph is sufficient, if the material from that paragraph can be traced to a single source. Citing your sources demonstrates the work you have put into researching your paper, distinguishes your ideas from those of others, informs readers where to find out more about particular points, and strengthens your argument by providing authoritative sources for your factual claims.

Cite only the sources you yourself have consulted. Citing the source of your source, as if you had consulted it yourself, is misleading and deceptive, unless you explicitly acknowledge it e. For further suggestions on citations, including formatting tips and a discussion of plagiarism, see the Dartmouth website on sources: You must put in quotes, or in indented single-spaced format, any text found in other sources, and the text must be followed immediately by a citation to the source.

Of course, you may not submit all or part of a paper written by someone else as if it were your own work. To avoid plagiarism, be careful in your note taking and writing to mark all ideas, detailed facts, and exact wording taken from other sources, so that you can properly cite and quote them in your paper. The Political Science Dept. In some cases, plagiarism and other forms of cheating is punishable by dismissal from the college.

Thus do not waste space on material that does not advance your main argument, such as:

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Very good intro to writing a research paper in Political Science. Baglione explains the research process step by step in a simple and clear language. There are great samples in the book one can use for reference, as well as /5(26).

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Want your students to write their first major political science research paper with confidence? With this book, they can. Author Lisa Baglione breaks down the research paper into its constituent parts and shows students precisely how .

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How to Write a Political Science Research Paper Organize your paper in the following way: . Introduction: Begin the paper by identifying your research question. Literature Review: Discuss the existing scholarly literature that relates to your question Data: Present your evidence so that it supports your thesis (that is the answer to your . Writing a Research Paper in Political Science: A Practical Guide to Inquiry, Structure, and Methods / Edition 3 Even students capable of writing excellent essays still find their first major political science research paper an intimidating $

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Writing political science research papers Your instructors use research paper assignments as a means of assessing your ability to understand a complex problem in the field, to develop a perspective on this problem, and to make a persuasive argument in favor of your perspective. There are differences in writing across disciplines, but also various genres within political science itself. Below are resources tailored to different political science writing assignments. Writing a research paper: Near the start of your undergraduate studies, we recommend purchasing the following reference on writing the political science research paper.