Political science studies the theoretical and practical sides of all forms of government. Although it is currently considered a social science, it was once labeled a form of philosophy. Plato and Aristotle appear to have had the greatest impacts on the development of political science thanks to their books: Politics and Republic. Though you will probably never write like they did, you will still need to know how to write a good paper in political science.
Studying political science will place you in one of a few categories. If you are longing for the more practical side of the degree you will definitely find joy in urban policy or executive politics. However, if you are somewhere in the middle of practice and theory you will more readily enjoy comparative politics, political communication, and human rights. Regardless, you will soon find it is time to write a paper, and understanding that process will take you a long way in your academic and political career.
Writing a passing Political Science paper
It has often been said that when you sit down to write a paper, you should first tell the readers what you intend to tell them, then tell the readers, and then retell what you have already told. In simpler terms, provide an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. This way your readers will know what to expect from your paper and if you are successful they will be able to share with others what your paper has presented to them.
You will always start your paper with an introduction. In this beginning paragraph, or two, you will have the opportunity to answer several questions. These questions, when answered, will give the readers a clear picture of what they should learn from reading your piece. You will tell them what questions you are addressing, and why they are important. You will also share the answers you have come to, and the process that brought you to those answers. And finally, you will let you readers know what should happen next.
Creating this summary introduction will help you see problems with your research. If you are unable to answer the question posed earlier, then you will need to rethink and rewrite certain aspects of the piece. But, if all goes well, your summary will help the readers understand where you are coming from and where you are going on the topic at hand.
When you come to the conclusion section of the paper, it is very easy to think you should simply restate those things mentioned in the introduction. However, that can be quite redundant if you did a good job writing your intro. Instead, use your conclusion section to explore what your research implies. Show the readers what steps should be taken next, what further research is needed, and what questions remain.
We discussed the introduction and conclusion first because they seem to go hand in hand. In fact, some people would recommend that you not write your introduction until you are gearing up to write the conclusion. This way you can stay streamlined in your thoughts.And, you can be certain that you have stayed on topic arriving where you intended when you started your research.
Therefore, this thought would imply that writing the body of the paper is the first part of the process. When you prepare to do the research and begin writing this section you should consider the four injunctions to writing a good argument:
- Supporting your evidence is crucial. No one wants to read a paper that isn’t heavily documented with valid sources. Make sure you utilize empirical evidence such as history, numbers, and other facts.
- Frame all the main points. Summarize your points without asking the facts to provide their own proof. Give more evidence that supports your summarization.
- Be your own critic. Make sure to address the potential for refutation. Ask questions as though you were the cynical reader, and then provide answers to those questions. You will show you know what you are talking about when you are ready to defend potential objections.
- Don’t forget the footnotes. You absolutely must cite your sources. Follow whatever methodology they give you in your courses, but do not leave any fact uncited. You have to give credit where it is due.
The Actual Writing
Now that you know the structure of the paper, it is important to consider how you are actually going to write the piece. Good academic writing is free of typos and grammatical errors; so, make sure to proofread all your work before you ever submit it. Also, take advantage of the benefits found in word processing programs.
Don’t get overzealous thinking that you have to solve all the problems in the political science arena. Instead, focus your paper on a handful of well researched and organized points. Consider breaking your paper into sections that illuminate the points you intend to make. Number these sections and be sure to create a clear and captivating heading for each.
Begin your sections with a few sentences that introduce what will be conveyed in that section. This will help you stay on task. They can be removed later if they seem too repetitive. Use topic sentences to introduce each paragraph. Readers should know where the paragraph is going based on your first few sentences.
Make your sentences short and declarative. You want the paper to have power; so, make your sentences sound powerful. Do not employ a passive voice. And, if you really want to stay on target, use an outline to help you structure each section, paragraph, point, and argument. Remember that you are writing a college level paper so be prepared to write using vocabulary demonstrative of that level of academia.
It never hurts to get a second or third opinion on your paper before you turn it in. Ask your friends to review it and make suggestions. They might find there are areas that are unclear to the reader. Something might sound good in your head, but be confusing on the page. You will need their reviews to perfect the paper.
Go over it one more time and then turn it in with a smile. You have completed a successful political science paper!
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