Tips for Writing Your Government & Political Science Paper
One thing to keep in mind when developing your dissertation for a program in government and political science is this: less can be more. Many candidates feel that their discussion needs to provide information that can literally transform the study of government and political sciences, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dissertations in this field often succeed precisely because of the fact that they have a narrow focus.
In order to develop your focus before writing, be sure that you make an outline of your discourse, and in that outline be sure that you make your point early (in your introduction). Another way to “hook” your reader in this type of essay is to indicate early in the essay what the relevance of your primary assertion is: if your primary hypothesis is adopted, how would this change either the study or the practice of government or political sciences? If you answer this question, you will give the reader a good reason to proceed with a favorable reading of your paper.
Your essay for a program in government and political sciences will probably contain six primary elements: an introduction, a literature review, a section that develops your argument in detail, the evidence for your argument, a discussion of why that evidence supports your primary assertion, and the conclusion that comes back to your original thesis statement. One of the best ways to open your research paper can be by “bridging the gap” between your primary assertion and a specific case. If your primary assertion is about a general theory in government or political science, it can be very helpful to offer an anecdote or a topical reference that makes clear to the reader precisely what you are attempting to convey in your essay in the context of current events.
Again, the most important thing to do is to outline your essay before you begin. It is also important to keep in mind that your literature review is for the purpose of supporting your argument – it is not meant as a testament to just how extensive your reading in the field has been. While it is important to annotate all of the literature references, you do not want an essay whose appendix is as lengthy as the essay itself. Other things to avoid in your research paper are attempts to distort other viewpoints with which you disagree, focusing on the writing at the expense of your primary hypothesis, or attempting to disprove current theories of government.