Political Science

INR 3214 Guidelines for Writing a Case Study

Students will design a case study research analyzing the foreign, security, and defense policies of individual European states or groups of states (EU and non-EU countries) and applying the theoretical framework to one or more cases. Papers should be eight – ten (8-10) double spaced pages. Regardless of the topic selected, the student should deal with it analytically, not merely descriptively. This means that the paper should address a specific question and develop and support an argument. It should draw upon the relevant theoretical literature. Students may employ whatever system of formatting that works best for them so long as it remains consistent throughout the paper.

Preparing the Case

Paper Topic & Research Question

Instructions:

1. Select a topic dealing with a European foreign, security, and defense policy event/process from the perspective of the theories that will be surveyed in this course and research the topic throughout the semester.

2. Develop a well-defined research question:

research question indicates the direction of your research. It is an open-ended query, not a final claim or conclusion about an idea. A good research question should act as the focus of a study. It helps the student decide on the methodology he/she will use as well as guide all subsequent stages of inquiry, and analysis.

Example of a weak research question:

· “The Camp David Accords: Did it set the precedence?”

Example of a strong research question:

· “What was the UN’s role throughout the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia? How was the education system affected by it and how has it improved since then?” 

Research Phase/Number of Sources

Having selected a topic, the next phase is research. Note that this research should include primary sources, peer-reviewed articles and scholarly books. The number of sources used in a paper reflects the researcher’s level of effort and understanding of the topic, provided they have read the material. The number of sources required for research papers is a function of paper length: 8-page papers should have a minimum of 8 sources, 10-page papers should have a minimum of 10 sources. All sources listed on the REFERENCES page must be cited in the text. Roughly a third of the time allotted to this project is devoted to the research phase.

Map, Graphs, and Figures

Research papers should include at least one map showing the location of the study area, the subject of interest, or the research results. The maps must be high quality and completely legible. Maps downloaded from the Internet are acceptable only if they are completely legible once printed. These same requirements apply to figures, graphs, and photographs. Photocopied material must be clean, without black smudges or surrounding text. Hand drawn graphs or maps are not acceptable unless they are exceptionally well done. Maps, figures, and graphs must be placed immediately following their initial citation or reference in the text. Source information must accompany all maps, figures, and graphs. All maps, figures, and graphs must be referred to in the text using the following formats: (See Figure 1) (See Map 3) (See Graph 2).

Missing Components

Any of the components of the specific research paper requirements that are missing will result in the loss of points for each missing component. The components are: 1) Introduction, 2) Background, 3) Literature Review/Theoretical Framework, 4) Discussion/Findings, 5) Conclusions, (6) References.

Introduction

Identify the key problems and issues in the case study. Formulate and include a thesis statement, summarizing the outcome of your analysis in 1–2 sentences. The introduction should describe the research problem, its significance, why the case is being used and how it relates to addressing the problem. A good introduction guides your reader through the evidence, which follows and informs him/her of the overriding purpose of your developed points. I strongly suggest that you have a single sentence that clearly articulates your thesis. It can be as direct as: “The argument of this paper is…” Once you have posed the underlying question and offered a thesis, the body of the paper should be used to defend the thesis.

Background

In this section, students should provide background information of their cases, relevant facts, and the most important issues related to their case study.

Literature Review/Theoretical Framework

The literature review is an essential part of a case study design, which provides background information and historical interpretation of the topic of analysis. Students should provide a critical analysis of literature and theories that will be surveyed in this course (theories of European integration; realism, liberalism, and constructivism) and develop their own argument. An explanation of a case is more convincing when the outcome could not have been predicted using the different theory explanation. Students are required to analyze their case study through the lens of theory.

Discussion/Findings

Defending your argument means carefully choosing and analyzing specific evidence based on theories, not simply repeating unsupported generalizations with slightly different wordings again and again. For an argument to be convincing, it is necessary to evaluate all possible sides of an issue. You cannot ignore significant contradictory evidence or counterarguments and will need to address them specifically. The presentation of evidence should not merely be a mindless catalog of facts, but rather a selective and careful analysis of details relevant to your case. To decide what evidence to use, lay out the full array of potential evidence in advance of writing your case study. Then choose that which can be best developed and supported by theories of revolutions.

Conclusion

The conclusion should briefly re-state the main points of the paper and address any issues raised by the research. Summarize your conclusion in clear language and emphasize how the findings from your case study differs from or supports prior research and why (your contribution to the field).

Format of the Paper

The paper should stay within the page limits listed above [12-point type with standard margins]; it should be formatted in standard research paper form — i.e. including reference notes (either at the bottom of the page or at the end of the paper — not “scientific notation”) and a bibliography.  The format listed below should be used for both notes and bibliography.

Bibliography:

All entries should be listed in alphabetical order, last name first, using the following format:

1)  Periodical article:

Hough, Jerry F., “The End of Russia’s ‘Khomeini’ Period,”  World Policy Journal , IV, no. 4 (1987), pp. 583-604. Some journals do not employ volume numbers, others do not employ consecutive pagination within an entire volume.  This format can be adjusted to the former by excluding the volume number and presents no problem for the latter situation.

2)  Article in an edited book:

Russell L. Hanson. “Democracy,” in Political Innovation and Conceptual Change, eds. Terence Ball, James Farr, Russell L. Hanson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 68-86.

3)  Authored book:

Sanford, Levinson. Our Undemocratic Constitution: Where the Constitution Goes Wrong (and How We the People Can Correct It). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

4)  Edited book:

Mill, John S. On Liberty and Other Essays, edited by John Gray. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.

5)  Newspaper article:

Amartya, Sen. “Democracy and Its Global Roots,” The New Republic, October 6, 2003, pp. 28-35.

6) Miscellaneous publication:

Some items do not fit easily into any of the categories listed above.  You should adapt the format to fit the item.  For example, pamphlets can usually be treated as books.

7) Translated material:

For translated materials, full publication information should be provided for both the original and the translation source:

Foucault, Michel. Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason. Translated by Richard Howard, Vintage-Random House, 1988.

8) Internet material:

These materials should be treated as publications.  Full information concerning the source should be given., so that the reader will be in a position to find it.  In the case of “reprinted” materials, both the original and the internet source should be given:

Taylor, Rumsey. “Fitzcarraldo.” Slant, 13 Jun. 2003, www.slantmagazine.com/film/review/fitzcarraldo/. Accessed 29 Sep. 2009.

Since you cannot cite pages for internet sources, you should be especially careful to provide proper link information and dates when accessed.

9) Unpublished material:

Specific information should be provided about the source of unpublished material, such as interviews, letters, and other documents.  The name of the interviewee, the date and place of the interview should be provided.  Letters and other documents should be treated in similar fashion.  In all cases information concerning the current location of the material should be provided.

Other Observations Concerning Research Papers

1. Do not repeat entire sections from books or articles

2. Quotations are occasionally effective, but you should not need the quotations to do the work for you. Quote only selectively and quote only that which is particularly valuable as evidence. When using quotations, you must always indicate them by the use of quotation marks or, if the quotation is fairly long and needs “block quotation,” by a single- spaced indentation and a specific reference with page number.

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