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Comparative Foreign Policy POL 3470


Paper Assignment

Project Idea, due: September 19, in class.

You are asked to write a paper (in two stages) for this class; you have two options: Option 1: Leader Profile

  • You may select a leader of a state or other high-level policy maker for this profile. Option 2: Case Study of Foreign Policy Decision
  • Select a situation that required policy makers to make a decision or to act.

For both options, you may not select a decision maker or a situation from U.S. foreign policy. In all cases, you must check that sufficient resources can be found in the university library’s collections to complete the assignment before making a decision regarding your subject.

If you wish or need help choosing a leader or case study, you should speak with the course instructor. If at any time during the process of writing the papers you have questions about how to proceed, be sure to ask your instructor. This is a challenging assignment! Plan ahead and ask for help along the way.

The two papers for this course are linked assignments; the first paper is essentially a draft of the first half of the second paper. You are expected to revise that part as you work towards the complete, second paper. The feedback on the first paper is intended to help you to produce a better research paper for the course.

Paper 1: Introduction, Literature, Theory/Question Due: October 4, Wednesday by 8:00pm

In this paper, you summarize and explain a specific theoretical framework. The various approaches to studying leaders, advisors, the impact of legislatures on foreign policy, or other domestic or international factors are all acceptable. Review the Smith et al. textbook for ideas and to guide you to additional literature in your chosen theoretical approach, and meet with the instructor to discuss your project further. Review the journal articles not only for content, but also to understand how to structure a review of the literature in a specific area of study.

End this paper with a short statement that specifies the case you will explore in the research paper. Explain why and how this case is either illustrative of the principles elaborated by the theoretical framework or tests propositions derived from the framework. This need not be more than a few sentences at the end of the paper.

Components of the first paper:

    1. Introduction
      1. Concisely introduce the topic and the question that motivates your paper.
    2. Literature
      1. For option 1: start with the literature discussed in Hudson’s Chapter 2.
        1. You are expected to go and read the articles, chapters, and books cited in this chapter, not just paraphrase from the text!
      2. For option 2: start with the literature discussion as appropriate to your case study.
        1. You are expected to go and read the articles, chapters, and books cited in this chapter, not just paraphrase from the text!
      3. Supplement the articles, chapters, and books you found through the citations in your textbook with additional, relevant literature.
        1. If you need help identifying appropriate material, see your instructor.
    3. Question
      1. What, specifically, do you hope to discover about the leader or the case study?

        Paper 2: Research Paper

        Draft due: November 16, Thursday by 8pm Paper due: December 3, Sunday by 11:59pm

        Include the revised theoretical framework as the first part of the second paper. The second part of the paper is the fully developed leader profile or case study. The purpose of the profile or case study is to test the theory, or to confirm whether the explanations offered by the existing literature hold for your leader or case. You must structure the case study to show how the theory informs your approach to the subject. Next, you must evaluate how well the theory helps you understand or evaluate the case.

        The case study portion of the paper will require different types of sources than those used in the theoretical portion. Here, you may use news sources, biographies, historical narratives, etc. Better papers will use multiple sources to check facts found in one source against information provided by other sources – and cite all of those sources!

        Components of the second paper:

      2. Introduction (revised from paper 1)
      3. Literature (revised from paper 1)
      4. Question and Strategy (revised from paper 1)
        1. In addition to your research question, you now explain your plan for conducting your leader profile or case study. For both options:
          1. List the type of information you employ and the sources from which you will derive it.
          2. Explain how you will use the information. Will you use the information to answer a set of questions? Will you use the information to reconstruct a narrative of what happened? Be as specific as possible to explain how you plan to evaluate information, arrive at assessments, and draw conclusions.
      5. Leader profile or case study, depending on the option chosen.
        1. Be careful to follow the plan you constructed for yourself in the previous section.
      6. Conclusion.
        1. Revisit your research question and explain what you have learnt as a result of doing this research.
        2. Your conclusion should include two distinct elements:
          1. What have you learnt about the leader or the case?
          2. What have you learnt about the literature? Does your case confirm what others have found? Fully, in part, or not at all? Why do you think this is the case?

            Research and Sources

          3. You must use a variety of sources for this paper. These sources must be varied in type (as enumerated below) and in terms of viewpoint. You must present sources that reflect a variety of different viewpoints and factual information must be checked against alternative sources as well. In short, you must assess the quality, veracity, and completeness of your sources before deciding to use them!
          4. You must have at least 10 sources in the completed paper (i.e. paper 2), but preferably more. Papers which use the minimum number of sources are generally average (i.e. “C” range).
          5. You must cite your sources meticulously. This means: every fact and every assertion must be attributed to a source.
          6. Your own analysis and judgments must be clearly grounded in your research. I.e. your analysis must clearly build on the information derived from your sources. It should also be clear what comes from sources and what is your own assessment.
          7. sources cited in the text must be in the bibliography.


          8. Paper 1 should be about 4-6 pages long. Paper 2 should be about 12-15 pages long. Write for content, not to fill the requisite number of pages.
          9. Use a separate title page and include your name, the course the paper was written for, the semester you wrote it, etc. The APA style guide mentioned below has examples.
          10. Use an in-text citation style, such as APA or APSA. There should also be a bibliography at the end of the paper, which also uses APA or APSA style. A good and accessible guide to APA style is the OWL at Purdue, see
          11. Remember that you must provide page numbers for all direct quotes. For what to do when you are quoting from an electronic source that does not provide page numbers, see
          12. The use of subheadings to organize the paper is highly recommended.
          13. Contrary to the APA style guide, you do not need to provide an abstract.
          14. Start your bibliography on a new page. Bibliographies should contain only those works actually cited or referenced in the text.
          15. Number your pages.
          16. Edit your paper. Check for any spelling or grammatical errors. Do not rely exclusively on your software’s built-in spellchecker to catch your errors!
          17. Double space the text. Use an acceptable font size, such as Times New Roman 12 pt. Use reasonable margins, such as 1 inch on all sides.
          18. Staple your paper in the upper left-hand corner.
          19. Do not hand in folders, plastic covers, paper clips.
          21. You reference list may include web based sources, but you should not rely on web-based sources exclusively. Make sure you consult scholarly journals, books or book chapters. For this paper, newspaper and/or newsmagazine articles may also be appropriate.
          22. When using web-based sources, investigate them for reliability and trustworthiness, as well as potential bias – irrespective of whether you agree or disagree with the source. Personal webpages, blogs, etc., are not acceptable sources.
          23. The sources listed in the bibliography must all be cited in the text. And, conversely, all