Phase 1

Selection of Topic and Introduction


A brief introduction on what you intend to study. You should include the following:

            1) A research question (You can use the question that you have prepared to complete Assignment 1.)

“Why do some countries have a higher level of economic performance than do others?”

“Why do some people vote for one candidate and others vote for a different one?”

            “Why do some nations have democratic political systems and others have authoritarian systems?”

            2) A background on the topic (e.g. History. Current events.)

            3) Discuss why this topic is important

4) Cite and discuss at least two academic sources (You can use the question that you have prepared to complete Assignment 1.) and discuss what research has been done. (You can use Web of Science to search for articles. You can also go to the library.) Articles in magazines and newspapers are not considered as “academic.” (However, you can use them in order to support certain facts and statements.)

                        e.g.      -According to Smith (2002), …

                                    -Riker (1982) argues that …

-Although a number of scholars have applied these theories to the implementation of regulatory policies (see Lowry 1992; Ringquist 1993; Moe 1982, 1985, Scholz and Wei 1986; Wood and Waterman 1994; Hunter and Waterman 1996)…  

Attach a bibliography at the end of the introduction (i.e. Do not insert the bibliography into the text).

            5) Layout a plan for the rest of the study.

          Phase 1. Research question

          Phase 2. Theory (explanation) and testable hypotheses

          Phase 3. Variable list / operationalization

          Phase 4. Statistical analysis

          Phase 5. Conclusion and final product

            e.g. “The plan of the study is as follows. First, the hypotheses will be derived after the factors that influence the attitudes toward abortion are discussed. Second, the hypotheses are operationalized. Third, the hypotheses will be tested. Finally, I will conclude with…”

            6)  Attach your bibliography. See the descriptions of Assignment 1 for the format.


Do not forget to save your document often, especially if you are using one of the department's laptops.


It is a good idea to show your Phase 1 to the instructor and get some feedback before you drop it into Blackboard. If you cannot complete it during the lab hours, submit it by the end of the next day.  


How to Avoid Plagialism


            *Any papers or assignments with plagiarism will receive the grade of 0.


1. Know what you are trying to explain. For example, you are interested in the impact of electoral rules on party systems. In this example, you are trying to explain cross-national variations of party systems by electoral rules.

            Other examples

                        The impact of economic growth on democratization

                        The impact of gender on party support

                        The impact of race on voting behavior

                        The impact of guns on crime rates

2. You will not be using Web of Science to gather data. You can use Web of Science to search for academic sources. 

3. You will be performing statistical analysis in Phase 4. You are only going to use a dataset in SPSS to complete your statistical analysis. In other words, you will not collect data by yourself.

4. You will be using a single dataset in SPSS. The use of multiple datasets will not work in statistical analysis

5. It is very important that you check the datasets in SPSS to make sure that you can carry out statistical analysis later.

6. You should not argue the importance of your research paper based on your personal experience. Your research paper should be important to other readers.

7. Avoid factual research questions. Avoid normative questions.

8. Make sure that your research question does not just focus on some individual cases.

9.Watch how you are writing





            The use of “I”

            Is the focus of the paper clear?


            Awkward sentence



1. Phase 1 should be 1-2 page(s) using 12 point font (Use either Times New Roman or Arial). Double spaced. Do not adjust margin sizes.

2. Make sure to write in paragraph format.

3. Make sure to have multiple backups. You will be responsible for a lost file.

4. At the end of the semester, you will turn in your paper by combining the phases.

5. Please do not send your assignments using e-mail.

6. Please do not forget to include your name and section number.

7. Overall, present your paper professionally.