Make sure your paper is analytic. Argue for an analytic (or "positive") stance, rather than a normative one. In other words, engage in "objective" rather than "subjective" analysis. Answer the question "what is?", rather than the question "what should be?".
Clearly state your specific question. Your question is a case of a more general set of political phenomena. Know the literature from the more general set.
Compare your political phenomenon of interest to models of how politics works in such cases.
Understand counterarguments, alternative explanations, and
competing hypotheses to your own. Refute them to the extent possible.
Be clear whether you're making descriptive or causal claims.
Make claims that are falsifiable. How would you know if you were wrong? What evidence would disagree with your argument?
In making causal claims, the nature of the implicit or explicit comparison group is important.
In making causal claims, do not control for or match on post-treatment quantities; avoid post-treatment bias.
Discuss measurement, modeling, design, and data
strategies. Discuss limitations of your approaches.
Web sources should exclude wikis, include full citations (including access date), and be kept to a minimum. When possible, cite the original published document instead of the web version.
Submit your paper with a title page containing the title of the paper, author names, the date, a word count, and an abstract of 150 words or fewer.
Papers written for GOVT 210, "Political Power and American Public Policy" should be of 3000 words or fewer.
Include words that are in section headings,
footnotes, in-text citations, and table or figure
Exclude words that are on the title page, or are in the bibliography.
Double-space the content of the paper; single-space
footnotes, captions, and the bibliography.
Provide 1 inch margins on all four sides.
Use a 12- (or 11-) point font.
Provide page numbers.
Staple your pages with a single staple in the upper
References in the text should employ a consistent
formatting style. In political science, consider
emulating the style used in the APSR or
You may use footnotes or in-text citations.
If a figure or table is central to your argument, include
it in the body of your paper. If it is supplementary,
include it in an appendix.