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Writing a Research Paper in Political Science


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: So You Have to Write a Research Paper What Is a Research Paper? A Few Helpful Metaphors What Research Paper Writing Entails Blueprint of the Book Chapter 2: Getting Started: Finding a Research Question Characteristics of a Good Question Practical Summary Recipe 1: The Research Question Exercises Chapter 3: Learning Proper Citation Forms, Finding the Scholarly Debate, and Summarizing and Classifying Arguments: The Annotated Bibliography What Are Bibliographies, and Why Do We Bother with Them? Plagiarism versus Paraphrasing Annotating the Bibliography Identifying the Key Conceptual Issues Searching for Sources Identifying Similar Arguments and Grouping Your Sources One Last Word of Advice: Generic Schools of Thought Writing the Annotated Bibliography Practical Summary Recipe 2: Annotated Bibliography Exercises Chapter 4: Making Sense of the Scholarly Answers to Your Research Question: Writing the Literature Review Preparing for and Understanding the Literature Review The Fundamentals of the Literature Review Writing the Literature Review Practical Summary Recipe 3: Literature Review Exercises Chapter 5: Effectively Distilling Your Argument: The Thesis, Model, and Hypothesis The Thesis The Model The Hypothesis Applying These Insights Practical Summary Recipe 4: Model & Hypothesis Section Exercises Chapter 6: Revising and Editing Your Work: The Writing-Thinking Spiral Practical Summary Recipe 5: Revising and Editing Chapter 7: Making Your Plan and Protecting Yourself from Criticism: The Research Design Research Design: The Medical Science Analogy Writing the Research Design Finishing Touches on the Research Design Practical Summary Recipe 6: Research Design Exercises Chapter 8: Evaluating the Argument: The Analysis and Assessment Section Qualitative Analysis Quantitative Analysis Practical Summary Recipe 7: Analysis & Assessment Exercises Chapter 9: Bringing the Paper Together in Three Essential Ways: The Conclusion, Introduction, and Title Considering the Significance and Limitations of Your Findings: The Conclusion Writing a Good Introduction A Last Element in Attracting Readers: Developing an Appealing Title Are You Done? The Joy (and Continued Responsibilities) of Finalizing Your Draft Practical Summary Recipe 8: Conclusion, Introduction, & Title Exercises Bibliography

About the Author

Lisa A. Baglione is a Professor and the Chair of the Political Science Department at Saint Joseph's University. Her major fields of study are International Relations and Comparative Politics. Dr. Baglione has published works exploring contemporary Russian foreign policy, post-settlement peacebuilding, the arms control decision-making process in the United States, the Soviet Union, and Russia, and the research-paper writing process, and has co-authored articles on the transformation of the Russian polity and economy in the early post-communist period. Currently, she is researching conflict transformation in the twenty-first century and contemporary Russian center-periphery relations. At Saint Joseph's, Dr. Baglione teaches courses in which she developed the ideas, advice, and techniques offered in this work.


"I introduced Baglione's book to my colleagues who advise students in our senior capstone projects, and now they are all using it. Students are being told to hang on to the book for later and are making good use of all its sections."

-- Ashlie B. Delshad

"Students will be able to use Baglione's book throughout their career on campus. It is especially helpful for students who are hesitant their about writing a research paper or struggling to find a suitable topic. The book walks through the research process and provides very helpful checklists to ensure students stay on the right track."

-- Aaron King

"One of the greatest difficulties students face when writing research papers is finding a good research question to guide the rest of the writing process. Baglione's text tackles that issue head on and does so quite well."

-- Jack D. Collens

"This is a very relatable book. The prose is accessible, there is little jargon, and the use of examples is perfect for an undergraduate audience."

-- David Mislan

"Baglione offers an extremely practical and useful text for understanding the content and structure of a thesis-length research paper. For some students, the clear outlining of the sequential steps is most useful, while for others who have the basics down, it offers a broad view of the goals and long-term responsibilities for such a project."

-- Jennifer Seely

"I love the checklists! I require students to submit every section of their paper drafts with the corresponding checklist attached."

-- Emily Beaulieu

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