Course Description: The purpose of this seminar is to help students writing honors theses in Political Science to develop, execute, and defend an outstanding project. Writing your thesis in conjunction with this seminar will help you keep your research on track, as well as providing opportunities for you to refine your research questions, develop your theory, identify sources of data, evaluate the quality of data, find scholarship and write a literature review, and engage in peer review.
Objectives: There are three objectives. First, to introduce students to the process of conducting research in political science, and more speciﬁcally, to the process of conducting a larger-scale research project than the typical research paper students may be accustomed to writing for upper division courses in political science. Second, to prepare students for writing a thesis in the spring of their senior year. Third, to provide students with a ﬂavor of the intensive and more interactive learning characteristic of graduate level instruction, the process of research by political scientists, and how to access direct sources of knowledge.
The course will emphasize the process of research, analysis, and writing, not any particular substantive area of political science. Through reading and practice, we will examine the steps to high quality social science research: identifying a research question, developing a literature review and a research design, hypothesis formulation, data collection, analysis, and writing several chapters and a proposal for future action for your senior thesis. You are expected to take a leadership role in class discussions on a regular basis, collaborate with other students to improve your scholarship, and make connections across fields of study inside and outside political science.