Project #47156 - political science 101

Research Paper Requirement for the Class: A Guide to Writing Your Paper

Term Paper. Given that in November, 2014 there is a mid-term election, choose any candidate orinitiativeofinteresttoyouthatwillbeontheballotforvoteinSantaBarbaraCounty. Then research and explore the campaign activities of your chosen subject. For the term paper, your assignment is to examine what you have discovered in terms of the scholarly research on election campaigns and analyze your topic in light of the various themes we cover in class, whether it be interest groups, political parties, elections, etc. While researching the scholarly literature, you are not necessarily looking for research about your particularcandidate or initiative, or the specific activity that you were exploring, but for what the research shows about campaigns and the political themes in general. For example, you might examine how campaigns use influence, or how they are funded, or the impacts of media coverage, or the role of public opinion on successful campaigns, etc.

In political science, thesis sentences like the question stems described below, are often the type of “critical thinking” questions that are explored in college textbooks, as well as those you saw in the midterm. These are the types of questions that political scientists examine and are the types of questions you’ll want to think about in relation to writing your paper, tying your research to the current political event.

In writing your research paper, you will need to put the topic you choose into context of the scholarly research on that topic. What does that mean? It means that you’ll need to research and use scholarly journal articles in the social sciences and apply them to your topic. You may make use of newspaper articles or information from websites in order to find the current political coverage and information on your chosen topic, but then you must show evidence of your understanding of the issues by including at least fivecredible, reliable references to the scholarly research on the topic.

To clarify: I’m looking for a research paper in political science; in other words, using information you find on your particular issue, put it into context of the scholarly information written by political scientists and other experts. Commentary heard on Fox news or on AM radio are NOT scholarly, nor are articles you find in Time or Newsweek. You’ll have to research the scholarly journals for articles that present research information on your issue.

Your paper must be 7-10 double-space, typed pages using 10 or 12 font size. Pay particular attention to sections III, IV, and IX below.

I. Choose your topic to research and then:

  • ï‚·  Answer the follow questions for yourself before writing your thesis statement:

    What is the point of my paper?
    What do I want this paper to prove?
    Can I tell the reader anything new or different?

  • ï‚·  To help you define a topic, write a research question about your topic by completing one of the following question stems:

    What is/was the role of . . . in . . .
    What are/were the effects/results of . . . Who/what influenced . . . to . . .
    What are the competing sides . . .
    How does/did . . . change . . .

ï‚· Develop your preliminary thesis:
In starting your paper, change your research question into a statement that you’ll support with your research.

  1. Divide your paper into sections. A. Introduction

    B. Introducetheaspectyou’dliketofurtherdiscussandanalyzealongwiththe integration of your research as well as textbook and in-class materials

    C. Conclusion

  2. Begin your search.
    Find current newspaper articles about the issue you’ve chosen. You will also need to have at least five credible, reliable sources other than the newspaper articles and textbook. Think of key words or phrases to describe your topic and use them when you search for the following:

    • ï‚·  Books: search the library’s online catalog

    • ï‚·  Articles: search Academic Search Complete or JSTOR for full-text articles (use your

      pipeline username/password to search from home, or elsewhere)

    • ï‚·  Web: search the web for relevant discussion of the issues

  3. Evaluate your sources

    Select materials that are relevant to your topic. When searching, select journal articles or books rather than popular magazines such as Time or Newsweek. When selecting web sources, pay particular attention to where the information comes from; using criteria such as: Who’s the author? What are their credentials? Who’s sponsoring the page? Is the information reliable? Who’s the intended audience?

  4. Take notes

    • ï‚·  Take notes from research that address the topics in your outline; include where the

      information came from. For books, include: author(s), title, publisher, place and date of publication, page numbers to specific part of the book. For articles, include: author(s) of article, title of article, title of journal, volume, date, and page numbers.

    • ï‚·  Summarize and paraphrase what you read or use direct quotes. For each, you must provide a citation to the source of the idea.

  5. Write an outline of your paper

    • ï‚·  Further develop your paper sections into an outline.

    • ï‚·  Identify major issues then list supporting ideas into subheadings.

    • ï‚·  Arrange your note cards by the main topics and subtopics in your outline.

  6. Write a draft of your paper

    • ï‚·  Write the introduction: identify the subject of your paper, provide background

      information, express the problem, and provide your thesis statement.

    • ï‚·  Write the body of the paper: state your major areas and explore each one.

    • ï‚·  Write the conclusion: reaffirms your thesis statement, discusses the issues, and

      reaches a final judgment: your conclusion based on your research and your reasoning.

  7. Assess your progress

    • ï‚·  Do you need more research in areas?

    • ï‚·  Do you need to focus your topic?

IX. Cite your sources

You must give credit to material used from your sources.

  • ï‚·  Develop a bibliography – a list of books and articles used in your research.

  • ï‚·  Use the MLA style of citing works.


Full-text electronic article:

Basic Form

Author. "Article Title." Journal Title Volume. Issue or other identifying number (Year of publication in parentheses): paging.

Access date .


Smith, Mark A. "The Educative Effects of Ballot Initiatives on Voter Turnout.” American Politics Research 33.2 (2005):283-309.
Retrieved 2 June 2014 <>.


Basic Form


Subject General
Due By (Pacific Time) 11/12/2014 08:00 pm
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