Guidelines and expectations for research papers

Research paper guidelines and expectations

You will write two in-depth, 2000 word research papers this semester: an international trade paper, and an international finance paper. You are encouraged to discuss your ideas early with me, so that I can help you throughout the process. Feel free to discuss your ideas with me as many times as needed. There is a sample research paper available on Moodle, to give you an idea of what a good paper looks like and the style in which it is written. It is not a perfect one, but still a good model to emulate, especially if you are still working on your research paper skills.

Guide for structure, writing and references

Expectations and assessment criteria

  • Include a minimum of 10 published scholarly sources (peer-reviewed journal articles or books) other than those on the syllabus. This is the minimum required, and more research is better of course. If you use some syllabus sources as a starting point, they come in addition to the 10 outside syllabus sources. You are also welcome to use good quality news sources but they come in addition to the 10 scholarly sources mentioned above.
  • Your paper should have a clearly stated thesis. I recommend that you place the following template beginning of a thesis sentence prominently in your introduction: “In this paper, I argue that …” Or, if you prefer to avoid the first person: “This paper argues that…” This really helps make clear what your thesis is. A thesis needs to be analytical. If it simply states a fact that can be checked by looking it up, then it is not an argument.
  • Effective presentation of argument with evidence. The best papers also anticipate and address potential counter-arguments.
  • Stay focused on your point.  Avoid background/historical sections for the sake of them. If you provide background, it should be done in a way that makes your point.
  • Break down your paper intro sections, each with an informative title (the first one is Introduction and the last is Conclusion). This forces you to build a logical chain of thought and justify why each section serves the purpose of your argument.
  • Properly formatted (alphabetized by author’s last name) bibliography at the end of the paper (in the same document, no separate document will be accepted) for all the sources that you cite.

Technical expectations:

  • Paper length: 2000 words max, excluding bibliography
  • Citations and bibliography format: using any format you are used to (for example, in IPE, the standard is Chicago Style Author-Date system). The library has documents to guide you with this. I also recommend, if you have never used one, to learn how to use bibliographic software such as EndNote or the free open source Zotero. If you don’t know this, try it, it will save you a lot of time in many classes. Ask reference librarians for help, they are great!
  • Submit a word document with your name in the file name (ex: Pierretradepaper.docx); double check to make sure the submission went through and that the file is readable.