Phase 1. Introduction

An introduction on what you intend to study. You should discuss why your study is important. Think about the following points.

            What do you want to study?

            Why do you want to study?

            Do you find any empirical puzzle?

            “What have others said about the topic? (Check the description of the Research Topic and Lit.)

            Are there consistent findings, or do past studies disagree?

            Are there flaws in the body of existing research that you think you can remedy?” (Babbie, p113)

What is your argument? (Your argument should be made within the first couple of pages. It will give a clear direction of where you are heading. It is important that you grab readers’ attention early.)

            Present a punch line (i.e. your argument) at the beginning.

            State the purpose of your research.

1. Make sure to read the description of the Research Topic and Bibliography again.

2. 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

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

4. Avoid factual research questions. Avoid normative questions.

5. Quotations should be used effectively. In other words, avoid using them too many times.

6. Do not spend too much space in describing the background of the topic. This is not a report.

7. Cite academic sources and discuss what research has been done. You can use Web of Science to search academic articles.  Articles in magazines and newspapers are not considered as “academic.”  

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

                                    Riker (1982) argues that …

Do not report the names of articles or books within the text, unless they are very prominent.

If you quote, do not forget to include the page number.

Do not write a paragraph for each article that you find. You should present them concisely and effectively. They should be included in order to show that your work is original and different from the previous ones.

8. At the end of the introduction, discuss what statistical models and what cases you are using and what years your analysis is covering. (I understand that you may not know these things. Do the best you can. I will not be grading this part so hard. You are supposed to revise this part, when you turn in your final paper at the end of the semester.)

9. Watch how you are writing





            The use of “I”

            Is the focus of the paper clear?


            Awkward sentence

10. This section should be about 5 to 8 pages.

11. Do not forget to attach bibliography.

                                   Bibliography (Journal)

Riker, William. 1982. “The Two Party System and Duverger’s Law: An Essay on the History of Political Science.”  American Political Science Review 76: 753-766

                                    Bibliography (Book)

Sheingate, Adam. 2001. The Rise of the Agricultural Welfare State. Princeton, NJ; Princeton University Press

12. Keep looking for data. Without data, you will not be able to complete your research paper.

13. Save your file and submit it to Blackboard.



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

2. Save your work. (Make sure to have multiple backups.) You will be responsible for a lost disk/file.

3. Overall, present your paper professionally.

4. The instructor will post her comments on the assignment that was submitted first.