Honor Essay Project Guidelines
The Honor Essay Project allows you to apply the skills that you have developed during your political science education to a research question of your choice. The question must be of a causal nature. Thus, the paper is to be analytical, with an empirical component.
The Honor Essay Project should be approximately 25-40 pages. Your paper must include a title page, page numbers, proper citations (APA format) and a bibliography. Furthermore, the papers must be double-spaced and printed in 12 point font. Margins should be one inch (top/bottom and left/right).
Students should set up a reasonable working timetable for their projects as outlined below:
- Decide which semester to enroll in Honors Essay
- Submit a proposal by the 14th week of the prior semester (e.g. Spring semester if enrolling in Honors Essay in the Fall semester)
- Submit a first draft of the paper to your principal instructor by the 10th week of the semester
- Submit the final paper by the 14th week of the semester.
Below is a guideline for students to follow when writing their Honor Essay Project:
I. Introduction: The Problem
- General statement of the problem
- Importance of the problem: Why is it interesting? Why is it significant?
- Previous research in this problem area – any substantive and methodological limitations?
II. Literature Review
- The literature review should accurately summarize relevant research on the selected - topic. Peer-reviewed published research should serve as the primary source for the literature review.
- Identify relevant theories, trends and happenings about your research topic (i.e. tell the story behind your topic).
- Review the literature that pertains to your question. Outline the key variables (independent/dependent) associated with your research question.
- Provide statistics or other types of data if applicable.
III. Hypotheses and Model
- This is a critical element of your paper. Make sure you define all relevant variables (independent/dependent).
- Outline your hypotheses with respect to your research question. What are the relationships among the variables? Is the relationship a positive or negative one?
IV. Research Design
- Identify what events, institutions, or people you plan to investigate. What sample size (or cases) will you use?
- How are you going to measure these variables?
- What methodological approach are you going to utilize? Is it a quantitative or qualitative approach? Indicate how the chosen methodology is suitable to evaluating/testing your hypotheses.
- Data collection issues: Illuminate the type of method you plan to use (interviews, survey, case studies, comparative methods, historical archival, statistical and so on). Why is the chosen method appropriate? Sources of the data?
- If quantitative methods are utilized, describe the dataset (which will be included in an appendix).
- Are there limitations of the chosen method?
- Summarize your findings
- Were your hypotheses supported or refuted?
- What conclusions will you try to draw from the research?
- What objections might your colleagues raise?
- Are there avenues available for further research?