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CPOL 510:  Power and Money: Topics in Global Political Economy

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Finishing your paper

This is the part where you get to decide what you want to learn, and you are responsible for learning it.

You should really be finished by Thursday, June 27

You and I have been discussing your paper one-on-one either by skype, phone or email for a few weeks now.  We can continue this – if you want to talk, just let me know and we’ll do it.

Begin with the notes from Bb > Announcements > Your Papers – assistance* that you would also have received as email June 15

What is it you want to know?

Your paper isn’t about a thing – you don’t have a paper topic – you have a question.  What is it you want to know?  Probably your question is a How or Why question.  What causes or effects are at work somewhere?  This can be current or historical or thematic, etc.  Your responsibility here is to answer a question no one has posed before, or answer a previously posed question with a new approach.

Other Guidance

Summer Online 2019 – Please note that these instructions are based on a spring/fall 15-week semester. You need to make adjustments for the short summer mini-mester.  Your deliverables include the paper and an oral presentation.  For Summer Online, instead of an in-class presentation, you’ll make a video presentation of two to three minutes and post it on youTube or send it to me on Bb, and I’ll post it for everyone to see. 

PAPER instructions and guidance – Spring 2019

Below are suggestions on choosing a paper topic, and on the technical requirements of your paper.  If you need general advice on writing a paper, please discuss with me.


What you want to develop is a carefully-crafted, well-defined, precise and interesting question that you can subject to research and analysis.  You may submit just your question, or you may submit it with a summary of your research to date, the next step in your plans, etc.

The subject matter can be historical or current; comparative, case-study or thematic; qualitative or quantitative; policy-relevant or not.  You should anticipate that you will use a number of books and journal articles (say, not less than 10 total, to be sure, and possibly 20 or more) as your key sources.  You might rely most heavily on just a few, but your preparation should include many more.  In addition to academic literature (books and journal articles, etc.), you sources might include government or private archives, interviews, think tanks, or your own field work.

Examples of good questions (in our class, you want to focus on international or global questions):

– What’s Next for Charter Schools? Examining the Writings of Betsy Devos, 1996-2016

– Should the FAA and FBI treat drones like real airplanes?

– How is the Brexit debate reshaping the global political economy?

– When do tariffs work?

– Who votes for third-party candidates? Understanding Utah in 2016

– Who drives Washington’s economy?  Interviews of 25 immigrant taxi driver

– How is populism a global phenomenon, or a single-state phenomenon in many places?

– Sanctions or nation-building: how do the lessons of Keynes’ Economic Consequences of the Peace drive US foreign policy today?

– How did private economic considerations drive Japan toward Pearl Harbor?

– How do countries respond to natural catastrophes: comparing Iran 1998 and Pakistan 2006  (or Japan 1996 vs. Katrina 2005, or Katrina 2005 vs Sandy 2012, etc.).

– How is global migration a cause – or symptom – or the problems of globalization?

– Why did Al Gore lose his home state of Tennessee in the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election?

– What explains recent changes and current trends in recycling IT hardware?

– What are the effects of international election monitors in developing democracies?

– After the Washington Consensus: what is shaping changes to the mission, goals and means at the IMF?

– how has the meaning of “democracy” evolved since World War II, with specific attention to transitioning democracies?

– other specific examples like this related to our course topic(s)

Examples of insufficiently precise or interesting questions, for our purposes:

What caused World War II?
What will Ivanka do?
Why did Kennedy beat Nixon?
Why did Trump beat Clinton?
What explains the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis?
Who will be inaugurated January 20, 2021?
What will happen after Castro dies?
What went wrong in Iraq?
What causes immigration?
What was the sub-prime mortgage crisis and who cares?
What is democracy?

Each of these has potential as a topic, but not a narrow or interesting analytical focus:  too broad, too “done”, too speculative, too broad, way too broad, imprecise, and unfocused, respectively.


Remember: you want to ask and answer a single, clear question that is interesting to you.

Requirements and advice on the paper.

  1. The purposes of these exercises are to:

(a) give you an opportunity to really learn something about a topic your are interested in. We cover many topics during the semester but many just on the surface – this is your chance to pursue in more depth something you care about.

(b) give you an opportunity to become a more sophisticated writer. How does your paper compare with the writing quality of the journals you’ve used in your research? If you can recognize a difference, then you can recognize your paper can be improved.

Assume that your audience is smart and aware of the concepts of the course but not of the specific readings, articles and books you cite.

  1. Get started: write quickly. You can revise what you’ve got once you’ve got something.  Be flexible – your research may take you somewhere unexpected.  Write an outline or at least the key points, first; you can change it later if necessary.  Don’t worry about the first paragraph – you will rewrite that when your paper is complete.

Do it somewhere comfortable, but without distractions.  It may seem unusual to you, but try the library.  You can still browse online; you can also see the actual journals, books, etc.  Hint:  if you find an interesting book, there are similar books next to it on the shelf.  You can’t do this from your apartment.

Reread, revise revise revise.  I do NOT want the first or second draft of your paper.  At some point near the end, read your paper as if YOU are grading it.  Is it organized?  Are your points logically and clearly made? Is it documented?  Well-written?  Edited for grammar and spelling?  Edited for grammar and spelling?  Edited for grammar and spelling?

If they are someone else’s ideas or words, you must footnote.  Footnotes are fine; you don’t also need a bibliography or reference list – if you footnote correctly. Examples of your footnotes appear below, for a book,[1] a journal article,[2] and subsequent references to each.[3]

I prefer simple footnotes like the ones at the bottom of this page, and a complete bibliography, with help from “Note-Bibliography Style” at http://www.press.uchicago.edu/books/turabian/turabian_citationguide.html.

You may, if you prefer, rely primarily on the APSA Style Manual: https://mk0apsaconnectbvy6p6.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2018/11/Style-Manual-for-Political-Science-2018.pdf .

Have a friend read your paper.  Ask for brutally honest feedback – substantive and constructive, not “it’s fine” or “it’s boring.”  Then when you are finally done, look again:  what are the good aspects of the paper?  What are the weaknesses?  Edit as nec.

  1. Your paper will probably be about 2000 words. (Confirm this length with syllabus.) Use a professional font and font size, one-inch margins, single-spaced lines and double-spaced paragraphs, like this outline. Absolutely 2200 word max. (Confirm this length with syllabus.) Let me be impressed by your research and reasoning, not by your kerning and x-height.  Use page-numbering.
  2. In addition to your paper, you will submit a one-page summary sheet at the front of your paper. This will be your cover sheet, or executive summary, and it will look like the page attached at the end of this document.  (The attached one is based loosely on facts, but not actually accurate.  This model was for a foreign policy class some time ago. Yours may not be a policy-analysis case.)

If you were giving your research and analysis to the deputy assistant undersecretary, this may be all s/he would read, so make it good.  What is the subject and why do I care?  What are the bkgd/issues?  What are the several considerations/caveats (this is part factual and part interpretive)?  What are your finding(s), analysis, recommendation(s)?

  1. You will submit a hard-copy of the paper in class. At the same time, you will also offer a TWO-to-THREE minute oral presentation.  This will be standing, not at the table.  The subject; the background; the considerations/analysis.  You will start with, “My question was….”    This is very little time – you must practice.  You will be annoyed that you got so little time to present – unless you really plan and practice.

**Summer Online courses: submit a .pdf or .docx – but not .pages – file to me by email. You will also post a 1-2 minute video summary of your paper to our fb group. 

Practice this, practice this, practice this. You may not read your one-page summary, nor may you read from an index card, your arm, cue cards from your friend in the back, etc.  You may not give a PowerPoint presentation.  You may bring an index card with not more than 25 words written on it – an outline, or key points, etc., to which you may refer to begin or in case of emergency.  I will interrupt you at one-two minutes; I may or may not interrupt you sooner and/or ask a follow-up question.  Some of you may be nervous, at least a little.  Good – that’s why we’re doing this – it’s good practice of an important skill.

  1. The paper, the summary and the presentation are all due at class on the assigned date.

Bring a hard copy of the paper, with the summary attached, to class.

Last bits of advice.  You want good substance and good structure.  Combine clear, concise writing with interesting, important analysis.  Lay out the issue(s), the questions, the relevant information, and (as appropriate) your own judgments/conclusions – not merely a chronological listing of events. ~ Fact check, footnote, proofread. ~ Would you be interested in reading this paper? Could you explain it in 20 seconds? in 60 seconds? Could you engage in a 60-minute Q&A on it?  Would you want to? ~ Prepare, read, research, think think think, write, re-write, re-write, re-write again.  Hand in something of which you are actually proud.

This is an example of summary page:

Date:               December 4, 2002
To:                    James Quirk, GOVT 999
From:              Your Name Here
Re:                   Should the U.S. support Bulgaria’s application to join NATO?

Should the U.S. support Bulgaria’s application to join NATO?  In 1992, Bulgaria began the process of applying to join NATO.  Bulgaria has participated in all of the stages of application, from observer to PFP to associate member.  The NATO vote on the admission of Bulgaria, Romania and Macedonia will take place in Aix-en-Provence on 7 January 2003.

Bulgaria has the potential to be a strategic and valuable partner.  Bulgaria offered its Bourgas air force base to NATO and the US shortly after September 11, 2001; it has proven to be an important facility for activities in the Stans and may prove useful for action in the Middle East as well.  Its army of 77,000 is well-educated and well-trained.  Most officers and many enlisted personnel speak either English or German or both.  The government has changed parties several times, but its commitment to NATO has been universal and unwavering.  The population, deeply dissatisfied with the economic results of post-communism, nevertheless broadly supports membership in NATO (and EU).

Economic difficulties pose certain problems.  The army has outdated and poorly maintained equipment that is not compatible with NATO, especially in communications technology.  The economy has struggled for years; there is no expectation that even the most willing leadership could fund the necessary upgrades.  NATO – including US taxpayers – will bear this burden, estimated to be $8 billion over 5 years.  The small air force and formerly impressive navy are not considered valuable additions to NATO.  Its ports in Varna and Bourgas are useful commercial ports; both are adaptable to but not ready for NATO use.

Then you make some other relevant point, or warning, about possible Bulgarian membership. Maybe about BG’s application to other Euro institutions, or corruption, or historic and recent difficulties in its relations with NATO members Greece and Turkey and NATO applicant Macedonia.

Finally, your judgment here about whether the US should support BG’s application in the 7 Jan 03 vote.  – Or whatever the appropriate conclusion is to your paper.  Do not forget to answer your original question.   You might argue that in fact the USG should push hard for BG’s admission, or that the costs of excluding BG are something, etc. etc.  I will read your paper, but after this summary, I should not have to.   This summary may NOT be more than one page.  NOTE: not everyone has a policy-analysis paper – be sure to adjust your cover sheet accordingly.  THIS COVER IS ONE PAGE ONLY!

[end of summary page]

These are simple examples of footnotes.  See the links to APSA Style Manual and Turabian, above, if you have any questions.  Or email me.

[1]  John Smith, Book Titles Are Italicized (Boston: Washington Publishers, 2005), p. 35.

[2]  Mary Jones, “Title of the Article in Quotes,” Journal of Whatever is Italicized, 18:3 (July 2004), p. 101.

[3]  Smith (2005), pp. 36-40 and Jones (2004), pp. 102-110.  This is the format for items you have already footnoted above.

Ok, this is the part that is supposed to be fun! – you get to choose the topic and then you explore stuff you like.  By Wednesday, June 19, please post here a one-sentence subject of your paper – in the phrase of a question, like the examples in the list above.   Ok, let’s have fun!

8 Replies to “510-pam-sum19-june18”

  1. My paper will be looking into the complex subject regarding refugees and asylees and the humanitarian crisis from an economic standpoint- and the economic pros/cons that refugees bring to more developed/stable countries such as the US or other parts of Europe. Essentially this will be a pro-migration/pro-refugee argument from an economic standpoint.

    1. Actually I am thinking of looking at the climate change impact of forced migration and the refugee crisis/displacement and how this has an impact on international relations/affairs and humanitarian values.

      1. acatiggay –

        you do two important things here – you identify an interesting question, and then you change that question as your research and research interest evolves… great

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  2. My paper explores the principles of mercantilism espoused by Hamilton and List as applied to the Palestinian economy as a foundation for durable sovereignty.

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