Political Science 20200: Introduction to International Relations

Second Paper Assignment: Ten Pages, Due Tues Dec. 2

     Professor Dan Lindley

Department of Political Science

Office: 448 Decio Hall; Phone: 574-631-3226; Email: dlindley "at" nd.edu

Office Hours: Mondays 9:30-11:30 217 OShag; Tuesdays 11:00-12:30 448 Decio, and by appt.

TA: Chad Kiewiet de Jonge via ckiewiet “at” nd.edu

             In this paper, you will diagnose a current IR problem facing policy makers, and then propose a solution. Your overall task is to figure out what caused the problem, and then remedy at least some of those causes. Be serious and realistic -- imagine that world leaders will be given a copy of your paper. Sample problems include but are not limited to current subjects in the lectures, readings, as well as other current events related to IR. The paper:

1. must assess the technical/factual nature of the problem (What is the problem? How dangerous is the problem and who/what is threatened? What is causing the problem? Presumably, the solution will have something to do with the causes.),

2. must take into account relevant historical factors (What are the origins of the problem and for how long has it been developing? Has the solution been tried before? What is different now than when the solution was first tried?),

3. must assess the political nature of the problem (What are the interests and policies of the most influential actors that are or might be concerned with the problem and your solution?),

4. must propose a concrete, realistic solution for at least some part of the problem, and

5. must do all of the above in a theoretically-informed way. This is crucial. Many of the theories describe and can be used to explain problems. Many of the theories describe and explain causes and sources of states’ interests and policies. Many of the theories describe and can be used to explain solutions and/or to provide deductive support for solutions.

You will have to make MANY theoretically-informed arguments to deal with the first four tasks.

Technical Requirements:

You are required to have a cover page with an abstract, ten pages maximum of text, then endnotes, and finally a bibliography. All text pages exceeding ten will be ignored. It will harm your grade if you exceed the limit and your conclusion (or more) is ignored and considered missing.

You are required to quote material from at least four books or academic journals that you found in the library. Put call numbers by these books/journals in your bibliography. Academic journals are defined as those containing at least 10 foot/endnotes per major article. Feel free to consult other sources; this is a minimum requirement.



All previous advice applies: Read the handouts on writing and research (on the web, in the syllabus, in your notes). When the people grading you give you the playbook, it pays to read it and find out what they are looking for. You will be well served if you follow the writing advice from me and Professor Van Evera, especially the latter's explicit recipe for writing an efficient and engaging first paragraph, ordering sections of the paper, and making yourself clear throughout.

Many of you realized (or will realize) that the first paper assignment (of explaining an event using theory) was deceptively simple. It turned out to be hard to think of a clear topic, hard to make an argument, hard to use theory, and hard to marshal evidence. Many picked topics that were too broad. This led to imprecision when framing your argument, using theory, and finding evidence. The lesson: you are in command, but you must plan your attack with great care.

This topic builds on the first, but is harder. Work in advance of the due date. There is a danger that your topic and arguments will implode when they move from intuition to paper.

Please read this assignment carefully. Make sure you address all the aspects of the assignment.

If you have any questions, ask. As with the first assignment, a checklist will be required and it will be handed out closer to the due date. Please do well. Dan Lindley