Paper Spring 2010

Basic Facts

Length: 18 – 20 pages, dbl-spaced, 12-pt font, 1-in. margins.

Prospectus Due: February 2 ; email to professor; worth 2.5%
Rough Draft Due: April 20 ; bring one copy for peer-editing, email the other to the professor; worth 2.5%
Final Draft Due: May 5 at 5 pm (last day of classes). Turn in paper copy to the mailbox outside the Government department office; worth 25%
Grade weight:  30 %

Reminder Regarding Late Papers: Late papers will be graded down 5% (of the total worth of the assignment) for each day late, to a maximum of 50% credit for the assignment.  No matter how late a paper is, it will always be worth submitting (you will always have an opportunity to get up to 50% credit).

You have 2 options:

Option 1:  Research Paper.

You choose a question about international law and seek to answer it.  For instance, you might want to answer the following question:  “Why did states create the ICC?” OR, “Are democracies more likely to follow international human rights law than non-democracies? Why or why not?”

A research paper, then, is focused on explanation.

Option 2:  Policy Paper.

You choose a question about the appropriate foreign policy for a country.  For instance, you might want to answer the following question:  “Should the United States sign and ratify the Rome Statute establishing the ICC?”

A policy paper, then, is focused on prescription.


Due February 2, email to the Professor

Length:  1 page

Points:  Worth 2.5 of the 30 points.


In your prospectus, you must do the following things:
1.  State the main research or policy question you plan to answer.
2.  Briefly explain why it is important.
3.  Briefly summarize possible alternative answers to the question.
4.  List at least 4 sources that you plan to use from outside of class.

Rough Draft

Due April 20  – bring 1 printed copy to class, email the other to the professor

Points:  Worth 2.5 of the 30 points.

General Paper Guidelines

The paper should address a question about global politics.
In writing the paper, you must do the following things:

  1. Clearly articulate a central question.
  2. Clearly articulate your answer to the question.  These are argumentative papers.
  3. Explain the significance of the question.
  4. Support your answer.
  5. Evaluate alternative answers.
  6. Use at least 8 outside sources: 1 book, 1 academic article, 1 news article, 1 primary source (see note on sources below)
  7. Use at least 1 sources from class readings.
  8. Use concepts from the course.  For example: compliance, reciprocity, reputation, norm
  9. Reference Section (Does not count as part of your page count.)
  10. Formatting: Include page numbers, use a title, and use headers to separate sections of the paper.


Your outside references can come from the following:

  • Books
  • Academic Journals (articles from political science or public policy journals are likely to be most relevant)
  • Newspapers (it is suggested that you stick to major national papers such as the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal)
  • Magazines (again, use major magazines, such as Newsweek or The Economist)
  • Primary sources: Government documents, treaty texts, etc.

DO NOT use these sources:

  • Wikipedia
  • Web content which is not from one of the suggested published sources listed above

How to cite your sources

You must use in-text parenthetical citations according to the author-date system described by the Chicago Manual of Style. Directions on citations can be found here:


On Writing

All Essays: Some Writing Guidelines for Political Scientists

On Policy Papers. There is no “one way” to do it, but the following websites might prove useful:

More General Advice on Writing

Paper Structure

This is a social science paper. One very rough outline of how you might structure a paper is as follows:

I. Introduction: briefly state your research/policy question and answer
II. Describe the significance of your topic; provide any necessary background
III. Support your answer
IV. Consider the strengths and weaknesses of at least one alternative answer.
V. Conclude. Summarize all your arguments and tell us why this is significant.

But remember, this isn’t the only way to do things. Ask for help if you need it!

Other Resources: Link to my wiki


My Grading Criteria

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