POLI227 Research Essay Assignment
|PAPER TYPE||RESEARCH ESSAY|
|# OF SOURCES||7|
|# OF PAGES & WORD COUNT||12≈ 3300 WORDS|
For your POLI227 Research Essay Assignment, choose one of the following questions:
1) Libya and Algeria are neighboring countries in North Africa that had long histories of
authoritarian rule. But when the Arab Spring uprisings began sweeping the region in
2010-2011, the Libyan government was overthrown by rebel groups, while the Algerian
government remained stable and experienced barely any unrest at all. What factors
explain this divergence in outcomes?
Brahimi, A. (2011). Libya’s Revolution. Journal of North African Studies, 16(4), 605-
Gaub, F. (2013). The Libyan Armed Forces between Coup-proofing and Repression.
Journal Of Strategic Studies, 36(2), 221-244.
Zeraoui, Z. (2012). Algeria: Revolution, Army and Political Power. Language &
Intercultural Communication, 12(2), 133-145.
Volpi, F. (2013). Explaining (and re-explaining) political change in the Middle East
during the Arab Spring: trajectories of democratization and of authoritarianism in the
Maghreb. Democratization, 20(6), 969-990.
2) Sri Lanka and Nepal are both smaller countries in South Asia that experienced civil
war in recent decades (Sri Lanka from 1983-2009; Nepal from 1996-2006). However, the
Sri Lankan civil war ended with a victory by the government over the rebels, while the
Nepalese government and rebels reached a negotiated compromise to end the war. What
factors explain this divergence in outcomes?
Sharma, K. (2006). The Political Economy of Civil War in Nepal. World Development,
Bohara, A. K., Mitchell, N. J., & Nepal, M. (2006). Opportunity, Democracy, and the
Exchange of Political Violence: A Subnational Analysis of Conflict in Nepal. Journal of
Conflict Resolution, 50(1), 108-128.
Diaz, F., & Murshed, S. (2013). ‘Give War a Chance’: All-Out War as a Means of
Ending Conflict in the Cases of Sri Lanka and Colombia. Civil Wars, 15(3), 281-305.
Uyangoda, J. (2010). Sri Lanka in 2009: From Civil War to Political Uncertainties.
Asian Survey, 50(1), 104-111.
3) Is there a different part of the world you wanted to focus on? Are you intrigued by a
particular topic in our class? You also have the option of modifying one of the topics
above or choosing your own paper topic, provided that you get your TA to approve it
(this can be done via email). The topic, of course, must also relate to the themes of our
class. If you do choose your own topic, it is your responsibility to locate at least four
relevant scholarly articles for your essay.
The required readings are all available via the library website; if you’re having trouble
finding them, be sure to consult the handy library research guide which I posted earlier
this semester, assembled by Research Librarian Sandy Hervieux. The required readings
intended as a point of departure for you to read up on your topic and begin building
your argument; to really ace this assignment, you must use (and cite) all the assigned
readings for your chosen subject, and also find others. By using the library website, and
by checking the bibliographies of the articles recommended above, you can easily find
more journal articles and books. You should have a minimum of 3 scholarly (peer–
reviewed) sources in addition to the ones listed here. You are also encouraged to use
news articles to reinforce theoretical points you’re making by analyzing recent
I recommend making an outline. As you read your sources, look for both arguments and
empirical material (i.e., facts) and take notes on them so you can integrate them into your
argument. Identify things that you need to know more about or want to go into greater
depth on (again, both arguments and empirical material) and look for academic sources
that will help you to answer those questions and fill those gaps. Keep taking notes and
refining your outline as you read.
The essay should be 10 pages in length (12 pages max.), double-spaced, 12-pt. font,
normal margins, plus a title page and bibliography (the bibliography is not included in
the page count; neither is the title page). Your title page should contain the title of your
essay, your student ID number, and the course number on it. Check out the powerpoint
slideshow titled “Better Essay Writing” that I will post on MyCourses.
Using the citation guidelines that I will post on MyCourses, be sure to cite your
sources properly. You may choose a citation style from among the MLA, APA,
Harvard, Turabian, or Chicago styles. Whichever one you choose, be sure to stick to it
and use it properly (you may use in-text citation or footnotes; however, please do not
use endnotes, as these make the task of grading more difficult for your TAs). Then,
include all your sources, listed alphabetically, in your bibliography.
You will lose three points for each of the following elements that are missing:
-Title page with your name, student ID #, and the course name and number
-Original title for your project (i.e., you will be penalized for naming it “POLI227 essay”)
-Correct spelling: you will lose 1 point for each spelling or grammatical error- be
sure to proofread your work!
***Your Essay is due Friday 26 March by 5pm on MyCourses***
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