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How to Write a Political Science Research Paper: Importance of the Backgrounds

Aug 02, 2018

When we talk about politics, everyone seems to have a strong opinion. Whether they come from the right or the left or the middle, a dispassionate debate is rarely achievable. How then is it possible to analyze these activities impartially and use your knowledge for writing a research paper in political science in the best way possible? The most reliable way is to use the scientific method to examine how the political world functions outside of the classroom. Students and scholars can accomplish this by studying the politics and policies of government on a state, national, and even on a global level. If you are interested in politics and brave enough to prepare writing based on this specific sphere, you must know one major rule about how to write a political science research paper appropriately. The answer is quite simple: you are to provide your writing with doubt-proof evidence.

Make your political science research paper well-grounded

Any student who majors in political science at college will be asked to write numerous research papers. Perhaps the biggest challenge of penning these papers is to select relevant and compelling questions to answer. The point of these questions is always to acquire new knowledge to solve practical problems in the field. When it comes to politics, a student might pose questions that deal with large government programs such as Social Security, Medicare, and government pensions. Why these programs? Because it's always advisable to investigate issues that have an impact on most of us, rather than those that only affect a few.

With that said, it is important not to confuse your topic with your queries. In other words, never start researching a topic before you have narrowed it down to a point where you have a clear and succinct question you need to answer. Always remember that research must solve problems to be considered useful, which is why it is often best to focus on questions that haven't addressed adequately, or about which there remains a great deal of controversy. Fortunately for political science students, there is no shortage of controversy in the world of politics.

Relevant information and Source types

As you might guess from the name, all research papers require research. The amount of time you must spend in the library or on the internet depends on the type of project you select or are assigned. Some questions require enormous amounts of evidence and data to address, while others are answered with practical theories, for which there is little empirical or hard evidence. Either way, you must always use sources that help you answer your questions and can be confirmed.

Because the research is obviously crucial, it is imperative that you find out which types of sources your instructor expects you to use before you begin. If you are a high school student, your teacher may insist that you use materials that he/she has provided, since research papers will undoubtedly be new to you. But for more experienced students, outside research is almost always required. What's the difference?

Class sources

There's a reason your teacher handed out a reading list at the start of the school year. These are the materials you must use if your teacher tells you that you cannot examine any outside sources when writing your research paper. Select materials that can help you answer the research question without any additional investigation. If necessary, look over your class notes that dealt with the text in question.

Outside sources

More often than not, whether you're a high school or college student, you will be permitted, even encouraged to use sources that are not part of the class readings. For a subject like political science, on which there are literally thousands of years of accumulated knowledge, the topic may be overwhelming. So, if you don't know where to start, do not hesitate to ask your teacher or professor for advice. It is a common dilemma and one that cannot be solved with further research.

As an expert in the field, your instructor will point you in the right direction. He/she will help you find the most relevant and dependable general sources for your topic. Then once you locate a few reputable sources, you can narrow your search to include more specific data, evidence, and expert opinions.

Internet sources

As fast and convenient as it may be, you should not overuse internet sources. Contemporary educators may enjoy their smartphones and tablets just as much as the rest of us, but when it comes to serious research, they want to know for certain that each source can be verified. It isn't always possible on the internet, where opinion is as common as fact. Books, on the other hand, cite sources that can be confirmed by noted scholars in the field.

No, we're not saying that you should eschew internet sources entirely. But educators tend to look at papers that are supported entirely by virtual sources more critically. Some assume, rightly or wrongly, that the author may have been a bit lazy by failing to include a single print source, since finding sources online is so much quicker and easier. Therefore, it is never a good idea to include too many internet sources. A few is fine, but more than that could cost you, especially with serious academics.

Which to choose

If you do use internet sources, make sure that they appeared originally on a database or a verified website. Never use a quote or statistic that was cited in a blog or on a personal website, since it's unlikely they can be traced back to a verifiable source. It goes double in the tendentious world of politics, where passionate folks seem to simply make stuff up to serve their own ends.

Record all citations

The investigative phase of the average research paper can last for weeks, even months. In this time, you will likely encounter hundreds of legitimate sources that you may or may not choose to use in your paper. Make sure you record all source information that is needed to locate a particular book, magazine, or website. Better yet, prepare your citations as you do your research! No, you won't end up using all of them, but it will give you all the options you need to write a great paper.

Political science research paper outline: A stepwise guide on your writing

When you have analyzed all possible sources, found the most reliable and relevant evidence to prove your examples and ideas, it's time to think about how to structure your paper in such a way that different information to be interrelated and consistent. Make up a political science research paper outline that will help you in maintaining the primary statements and preserving coherence in your writing.

Elementary political science research paper outline example

  • Introduction
    State the central question and provide your reader with the main purpose of your writing. Indicate the importance of your research and describe briefly the way it would be conducted.

  • Body Part

  1. Theoretical Part. Include all the materials you have analyzed, and that would be pertinent, informative and exciting for your audience. Don't forget about interesting images, charts, graphs, etc.

  2. Practical part. Your own research. Describe in detail the environment of research, who or what was its subject, what methods you have used and what results you've got.

  • Conclusions. Summarize your main results and offer various opportunities for their implementation in further studies

Eminent political science research paper topics

You already know how to provide a solid foundation for your work and structure it correctly. However, the first thing you need to decide is the topic of your research. It should be interesting not only to your audience but also for you personally. In this case, you will do your best and devote a considerable amount of time and efforts to achieve the best results. If you haven't decided it yet, you can choose one of the following political science research paper topics:

  1. History of international law
  2. Conspiracy theory mysteries
  3. The issue of cultural pluralism
  4. Impact of political advertising on the viewers
  5. Democracy and opinion polls
  6. Marxism echoes in modern politics
  7. Exploring the nuclear triad
  8. Interconnection of the Internet and Globalism
  9. Role of member-countries in the World Trade Organization
  10. A policy of Green Energy and fighting global warming
  11. The phenomenon of Rational Choice
  12. Telecommunication Policies in different countries
  13. Women politicians and how they can change the world
  14. Child-soldiers across the globe
  15. How tax policies influence standards of living
  16. What is hidden behind the electoral process
  17. Rape Shield Law
  18. Comparative politics and its pitfalls
  19. Major political strategies and their effectiveness
  20. Modern era politics and their contributions to modern societies

Approach this academic task responsibly - an excellent result always requires diligence, patience and time. Be confident in your abilities - and success will be in your pocket!

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