The Peculiarities of Writing a Research Paper in Political Science

If you ask an average American what aspect of social life interests him/her the most, it is likely that they would name politics. In general, American people are proud of their country, constitutional arrangement, and democratic principles of government; respectively, everything connected to social and political life is a subject of interest. To illustrate this thesis, it is enough to remember how much ado there is during every election. Anyways, politics is an important part of life of almost every American, so it is logical that political science is one of the most popular disciplines in colleges and other educational institutions.

Writing research papers in political science is among the assignments students get frequently, but there are several complications they have to deal with on a regular basis. One of them is structure. Political science is not as precise as, for example, chemistry or physics, so the structure of political science papers does not naturally come from the subject in scrutiny. For instance, a physicist student conducts an experiment and writes a lab report about it; the structure of his/her paper by default includes methods of research, equipment and materials, data analysis, results, and conclusion. A student of natural sciences does not need to thoroughly think over his/her paper’s structure, because it follows from the experiments or observations conducted. However, when a political science student writes a paper, he/she has to plan the paper accordingly. A political science essay on, say, the origins of democracy, does not possess any kind of default structure, so students need to come up with one on their own.

Usually, a well-written political science paper has a detailed introduction, a substantial main body, and a logical conclusion. The introductory section (it does not necessarily need to be only the first paragraph) must contain answers to such questions as, “What is the subject of scrutiny?”, “Why is it the subject? (or, “What are the reasons for studying it?”), “In which ways do I plan to research the subject?”, “What is my answer/conclusion?” (this is usually formulated as a thesis statement, which you will further need to support with arguments). The rest is more simple: the main body section is for your carefully chosen arguments to support the thesis, and the concluding section links all the arguments together, and shows how they prove/disprove the thesis.

As for the topics teachers in colleges usually assign their students with, they are as numerous and diverse as political science itself. Here is how some of them might sound like:

  • The differences between liberalism and libertarianism
  • The historical background of marxism
  • Comment on the main ideas in Noam Chomsky’s Profit over People: Neoliberalism and Global Order
  • What are the similarities and differences between anarchism and communism?
  • The peculiarities of perception of the left-wing ideologies in the United States
  • Racism and slavery as the background of the modern system of political correctness in the United States
  • Major ways in which an individual can influence social and political processes
  • How is abstaining from voting on the elections actually a vote?

These are just some of the topics political science students have to seek answers to. As it can be noticed, political science paper topics require students to not only be able to search for certain information and summarize it, but also to apply their analytical skills, their capabilities of processing and generalizing information, and their ability to find connections between singular, seemingly independent phenomena.

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