Assignment 1 – Research Proposal
To complete this assignment you are asked to:
(1) Identify a research topic you plan to examine for your 15-page research paper that is due at the end of Week 6
(2) Identify a specific research question that your paper will address. The question should be analytical, and not descriptive, in nature (The question should examine why something happened, not describe how it happened).
(3) Offer a brief explanation of the topic and your planned research
(4) Write a preliminary literature review of at least 6 sources, at least four of which must be peer-reviewed.
The total length of this assignment will be approximately 5 pages. Detailed instructions for each of these components are outlined below:
Research Topic and Question:
Your proposed research question should be approximately one paragraph in length and concisely state the issue you are proposing for the Research Paper, and the specific question that you are interested in answering.
You will have considerable leeway in choosing your topic, although it should center on patterns of conflict and cooperation in the international system. Examples of appropriate topics are, for instance, the relative success and failure of regional integration efforts, but you could also look at one particular instance of regional integration. You may want to explore the causes and nature of war, or peace. Make sure to identify your general topic, but also a concise research question that can be answered in the space and time that you hae available.
Of course, you can always Message your instructor with any questions about a relevant paper topic.
The purpose statement should be approximately 1-2 pages in length and outline (1) why you chose this particular topic and (2) what your preliminary findings or hypotheses are. It is, of course, quite likely that your hypotheses and conclusions may change over the course of the four weeks of doing research. The purpose statement should be considered a rough map towards the eventual paper.
A literature review consists of an informed discussion of the available literature on your topic and research question. It identities potential answers to your research question, or assesses the plausibility and quality of these potential answers. It highlights disagreements in the literature about your topic, and identifies the nature of these disagreements. A literature, therefore, offers your assessment of the state of the literature as it pertains to your research topic. It is not a list of sources, and should not concern itself too much with offering identifying information about the authors. The literature review is a narrative, and you should pay attention not only to the content, but also the style of writing. While only four of those original sources are required to be peer-reviewed, I recommend you rely primarily on peer-reviewed sources. The sources for your paper should not be drawn from the course syllabus (if you do decide to use a source from the syllabus, you should do this in addition to the six required sources).
The total length for the literature review will depend on the sources you select, but 3 pages should be adequate.
The research question/topic, purpose statement, and Literature Review should be assembled in a single Word Document. The document should be approximately 5 pages in length, and submitted through the Assignments tab under Week 2, Research Question/Purpose Statement/Literature Review Assignment. Name your file LASTNAME#1.
General Instructions for Assignments
All assignments should be written in Word and uploaded as attachments within the Assignments section of the classroom. Use 12 pt. font and double-space. Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file. Insert page numbers. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level.
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