POLS 339 – THEORIES OF IR
FINAL PAPER GUIDELINES
- 7 pages
- Standard, 12-pt font, double-spaced
- 1” margins
- When citing sources, use MLA or Chicago-style format (look-up formats online for tips).
- Due Date: Friday, May 14th @ 12pm (on OnCourse)
For the final paper, you will be asked to pick some ongoing/current event or issue in contemporary international politics, and analyze its origins, meaning, and political significance through (at least) one of the theories we have discussed in class. The purpose of this paper, in other words, is to explain how some author/theory we have read in this class can be used to make sense of and perhaps even solve an event or issue in “the real world.”
In the paper, then, your task is twofold:
- summarize and explain the event/issue you have chosen to analyze (e.g. Who is involved? When did the situation develop? What is its current status? Why is it relevant to international politics?)
- assess how the event can be explained, better understood, and perhaps solved by approaching it via one of the theories we have discussed it in class. This will require that you not only summarize and explain the theory itself, but also show how the theory can be applied to make sense of the event/issue you have chosen to analyze.
Because this project requires you to meld course texts with outside research on the current event you choose, your paper must engage with at least one course reading and cite at least three outside sources, two of which must be from an academic book or journal.
- Note: To encourage creativity and skill-development, I’m open to receiving final projects that take different forms than a traditional paper. Examples include, but are not limited to, written papers, podcasts, and websites. Should you choose to present your research in a format other than a paper, you must speak with me to discuss stylistic expectations. The basic citation requirements outlined above will still hold.
Papers will be evaluated on the following criteria:
- The demonstrated knowledge of your summary/explanation of the current/event issue you have chosen to analyze;
- The demonstrated knowledge of and accuracy with which you discuss the author/theory you choose to apply to your current event/issue;
- Whether you fulfilled the assignment description (by applying theory to better explain/understand the “real world” issue/event);
- Organization, coherence, and clarify of your overall essay;
- Writing quality (grammar, sentence structure, spelling, etc.).