The papers should ask, and offer a framework for answering, a research question about the topic and the role, impact or debate surrounding transnational kleptocracy. That question can be empirical, normative or policy-related. You cannot
write anything that is “definitive” or “completely original”, so please don’t put that type of pressure on yourself.
All papers should be double-spaced, proofread, and in 12-point font- about 6,000-7,000 Words (24-28 pages) range, including notes and any Tables, Appendices or Figures.
They should contain footnotes (listing references and/or comments) or in-text citations (with a bibliography) that detail your sources (including syllabus materials). Please note the complete address of all online materials accessed and give a separate Appendix of AI-related prompts you have used. Make sure to explicitly state your argument in the
introduction of the essay and to specify the debate or issue area that you are engaging with. You may discuss the questions and reading materials with classmates, but the arguments and evidence you present in the essays should be your own work.
Elements of the Research Paper
Section 1- Intro (2-3pages): The opening section should be between 2-3 pages long. It should include these elements:
The Research Question you are Exploring. This should be stated right at the beginning, preferably in the opening paragraph. Clearly state the research question, why the topic you are researching is important and what debates (theoretical, policy or both) it speaks to. Why is this question important for understanding grand corruption? Does it fit into a debate about policy and regulation? Does it upend a commonly-held perception? Then cogently present your own argument, or at least initial hypothesis, and explain what rival explanations/viewpoints you are engaging with. Effectively, this is a brief summary of the most essential parts of the project.
A Roadmap. Briefly describe how the paper will be organized and what sequence the sections will appear in.
Section 2- The Literature Review (5-6 pages): The literature review summarizes the state of scholarly research or a policy debate on your topic. It should present the emerging debates on your topic and familiarize the reader with the important theoretical/policy issues that you will be exploring. Important works in the debate may include scholarly books, journal articles and/or NGO research reports.
Most importantly: at the end of this section discuss how your proposed study will fit into this research. Will it seek to apply a debate to another set of cases? Does it intend to test a particular theory or approach to another region or historical era? Are you planning to modify or extend a research framework laid out by our authors and apply it new
ways? Are you planning on providing additional context or conditions that reframe someone’s argument or research on a particular topic?
Section 3- Methodology and Case Selection (3-5 pages): You should describe and provide a justification for your methodology. What types of sources will you draw upon and why are they appropriate for your topic? What are some of the inherent difficulties in conducting research on your topic and how would you try to overcome them? Also, if
you are using comparative country cases, explain why you have chosen these particular cases and why they are particularly useful for proving your argument. This section can be brief and/or combined with the Lit Review but is mandatory.
Section 4- Finding and Presenting your Evidence/Data/Cases (10-12) Typically, this section comprises the main part of the paper where you present the evidence or data to explore your claim or research questions. You are free to use visuals and data visualizations (charts, tables, descriptive statistics, pie charts, scatterplots and Wordclouds, but if you can identify and access original data, I would prefer that you create or compile your own (qualitative findings are data too!). Above all, I want to see how you are thinking about evidence-gathering and what you have found. So be transparent and explicit about this and take me through your thought process. Make sure to explain how you will obtain the data and describe the sources with as much specificity as you can.
If you are stuck or having problems, look at some articles in major IR journals such as International Security, International Organization, and/or World Politics. Pay particular attention to how the authors in these journals organize their articles and present their findings.
Section 5- Conclusion (2-3 pages): The final section is the conclusion and should be relatively short – about 2 pages in length. Are there greater theoretical and/or policy
implications that might emerge from your study? Does it offer any practical guidance to policy actors working on your issue or topic?
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