POL 321: Latin American Politics

Fall 2010

DRAFT OUTLINE
Your draft outline is due October 4. The purpose of your draft outline is to sketch out the structure- of your semester research paper in less than 500 words. The draft outline is really a description of your research design and will later serve as the introduction to your research paper. Obviously, by October 4 you will not have completed your research, but you should be well on your way. The draft outline should contain four elements. Each should be a paragraph; try to aim for less than 100 words for each. Research Question and Rationale This is a condensed, edited version of your topic statement, but primarily aimed at stating your research question. You should also provide a rationale for why this question is important or relevant to a broader audience. Theoretical Framework Your research paper is not a “country report” or a summary of what you read about a topic. Your paper should be part of a much larger conversation about concepts or themes in the study of Latin American politics. For example: populism, development, gender, democratization, elections, public policy, indigenous rights, revolution, etc. This section of your outline should provide a concise discussion of one concept that relates to your research question. A good theoretical framework doesn’t even have to mention your cases. But it does have to mention how other scholars have defined your major concept, particularly noting how some may disagree. You will later expand this section into a stand-alone (about 2-3 pages) component of your final research paper, known as a “literature review.” Hypothesis This is where you should clearly state a hypothesis—that is, a best “guess” answer to your research question. To do this, you will need to define at least two “variables” that you think are related (X → Y). This means you need to define your variables, and explain how you will measure them. [This part is very important, so see me if you have any confusion!] Case Selection & Research Design This is where you discuss your cases. But you should write about your cases only as they relate to your research question. This is not a place to write a brief summary of historical facts about your two countries. Instead, write a short paragraph explaining why you have selected your two cases. Remember, you picked a case for your topic statement. For this paper, you must do a comparative study of two cases. You need to justify your selection of your second case. Did you pick a “most similar” or a “most different” case? Why? [You may need to refer back to handout “The Comparative Method” from last week.] Follow the same writing guidelines used for the topic statement.

POL 321: Latin American Politics

Fall 2010

PRELIMINARY BIBLIOGRAPHY
Your preliminary bibliography is due October 4 and should be attached to your draft outline. The purpose of your preliminary bibliography give me a sense of what kind of sources you plan to use in writing your research paper. Your preliminary reference list must include at least five “scholarly” sources. Please pay attention to the following guidelines:

• You must use “scholarly” sources. These can be books. But they can also be journal articles. If you use journal articles, be sure you use “scholarly” (or “peer-reviewed”) journal articles. For example, an article in Newsweek is not a “scholarly” article, no matter how well-researched or informative. Typically, scholarly journal articles will have footnotes, reference bibliographies, and will appear in “academic” journals (with names like World Politics, Latin American Politics & Society, or Latin American Research Review). Wikipedia, the CIA World Factbook, and other similar sources are not “scholarly” sources, either. • You must use Chicago-style bibliographic conventions. Be sure you consult a style manual (the Chicago style manual is available online) when you put together your reference bibliography. Later, you will need to know how to use Chicagostyle conventions for in-text citation.
Be sure you adhere strictly to these guidelines. If you use non-scholarly sources, I will ask you to go back and find more sources.

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