Harvard Law Politcal Understanding of the 19th Century Termoil in the Middle East

Submitted by: Submitted by

Views: 290

Words: 696

Pages: 3

Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 11/20/2012 10:25 AM

Report This Essay

The following 10 points provide some advice for your research paper. This mimeograph is based,

with permission, on a handout by Peter Hall for his courses in comparative politics at Harvard

College. None of the following advice is set in stone, but I hope it will help you write a convincing

paper and organize your research and writing efficiently.

1. In almost every paper, you are explaining some phenomenon (why something occurred or did

not occur in a particular way). At the outset, then, identify what you are explaining and why it is

puzzling or important. Make sure the reader knows at the beginning what the paper is about and

what it explains. You might want to do this by posing a question.

2. Then, consider any special issues that arise in defining the dependent variable, that is, what

you are explaining. If stating your question involves using any terms that are ambiguous or not

commonly understood, define them. In some cases, a phenomenon that looks simple is really

complex, i.e. it has several different dimensions. For example, you might want to ask why public

opinion initially strongly supported, indeed seemed to call for, military intervention for

humanitarian purposes in Somalia in 1992, then seemed to turn strongly against it in 1993. You

would then need to differentiate between US public opinion and public opinion abroad (not least,

maybe, in Somalia itself). You also might want to differentiate between mass public opinion and elite

public opinion, or between the general public and issue publics, i.e. members of the general public who

regularly pay attention to a particular issue, such as the humanitarian situation in East Africa. In

your paper, you could focus on any one or any combination of these, but you need to be clear about

it. Depending on your choice, even the...