Comparative Politics

Instructions for Research Paper/Final Exam:

Please write an essay examining a topic related to Comparative Politics.

Length of essay: 5-7 pages (not counting cover page, bibliography or appendix), double space, 12 font size. You can choose any type of format (Chicago, APA, MLA…), as long as you are consistent.
Submission: You will submit the paper to the link for research paper/final exam on the CANVAS course page.
The paper will count for your final exam grade.
How to choose a topic:
Allow enough time to think about an issue, a problem, and a theme related to your country of choice. If you carry out some preliminary research, it could help you to become familiar with current or historical issues/themes/problems. You can use the list of suggested topics as a reference.
Choose a research question carefully.
Brainstorm-write down everything you can think of to support your argument. You can also contact your professor if you have any questions or need guidance!
Review all the relevant source materials, lectures, and precepts with your question in mind.
Remember that you are making an argument. You are trying to persuade the reader of your point of view.
Outline! While doing your outline, make sure that you are answering the question!
III. A good essay contains 4 main elements: introduction, body, conclusion, and bibliography.

Introduction: The purpose of the introduction is to give a preview to the reader of what this paper is about. An introduction contains the following elements:

Research question.
Thesis sentence/argument.
Reason (s) why this question/argument is relevant/important.
A brief overview of the organization of the paper. This overview helps you to organize the rest of your paper.
Body: While the introduction allows some (strategic) “broadness” to present the topic, the body of the paper is where precision enters. Now the reader already knows what the paper is about, and he/she already understands what is at stake. Once the introduction is over, it is time to cut to the chase. The “body” is basically the substance and content of the paper.

Do not wander away from your argument. Your paragraphs should tie somehow to the research questions and thesis/argument. Make connections throughout your essay.
Define important terms
Use evidence (for example: facts and sources) to support your argument.
Use a connecting phrase to introduce a quote. (According to Smith, “..”)
Avoid long quotations! You can summarize them.
Use active voice (“Smith shows…” rather than “It is shown by Smith..)
Use footnotes or endnotes (Smith, p. 180) to cite sources on the text.
Write topic sentences at the beginning of each paragraph. The topic sentence is the main idea that will be discussed in a paragraph.
Use subheadings. Subheadings help to organize a paper.
Conclusion: The introduction and the conclusion allow the “scholar” in you to speak up. In the introduction, you situated the reader and presented your thesis. In the body, you made your point by providing your examination. Now, the reader must feel he is “back to the introduction,” but with more knowledge. Contrary to popular belief, the conclusion is not the rephrasing of the introduction. It echoes the themes of the introduction but in a different spirit.

Re-state your thesis
Summarize your findings. (as to say: “Therefore, I believe I have demonstrated that because of X, it seems that Y causes C”).
Take a step back and analyze what are the implications of your findings.
Present future scenarios if it is pertinent
Make recommendations if it is pertinent.
Some minor and reasonable speculations and personal beliefs might take place – in a sensible way which still fits with the rest of the paper.
Bibliography: The bibliography contains all the sources used for the paper.

After you completed your draft, please spend some time for editing, proofreading and giving final touches.

Both editing and proofreading are easier if you lay the paper overnight.
While editing, continually ask yourself if your arguments are clear, concise and complete.
Read your essay out loud. If something does not seem to make sense or to flow well, it probably needs rethinking.
Make sure that your essay is not repetitive.
If you find yourself using the same word or phrase over and over, try a thesaurus.
Check for paragraphs that are too long (over a page) or too short (two sentences.)

Check grammar and punctuation.
Spell check.
Check your footnotes/endnotes. Are all page numbers cited? Is all information correct?

Finishing Touches

Devise a descriptive, reasonably short title that gives the reader an idea of what you are going to argue.
Check margins.
Check font and spacing
Number your pages.
Put your name, professor’s name, and course number.
Turn your essay in on time!!!!

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