How to Write Good Political Science Papers

Political science helps us to analyze various kinds of political problems and to present arguments based on research and information using both, primary and secondary sources. Political science spreads across a number of different fields, such as economics, philosophy, sociology, history, and uses analysis of both forms, quantitative and qualitative, while asking questions such as “why”, “how”, “what happened” as well as “what should have happened”.

Guidelines of Writing a Political Science Paper

Identifying a Research Question

A research question examines the relationship between two factors which is neither apparent nor pre-determined. For example, the relationship between literacy and voter turnout may not be obvious and needs a scientifically researched explanation.

Explaining the Terminology

Certain ground rules need to be established before proceeding, such as laying down definitions of concepts such as corruption, genocide, ethnic cleansing, etc. This is not as straightforward as it sounds and will involve reading what different scholars have said about that concept.

Drafting the Literature Review

A literature review consists analyzes the existing views on the problem or research question that has been identified. It should display a clear understanding of different schools of thought in the discipline while analyzing various perspectives and arguments within a particular school of thought.

Formulating a Theory

In simple words, this means examining and explaining the cause and effect relationship that operates at the heart of the research question. It is not enough just to mention the cause and effect but to elaborate how the dynamics of the cause-effect relationship.

Identifying a Methodology

There are different strategies and methods used in political science papers. Case studies and statistical analyses are both popular methods with their own strengths and limitations. For example, while explaining the relationship between poverty and terrorism, you may use statistical analyses to establish whether a relationship exists between the two, and then a case study to illustrate how this actually happens.

Assimiliating and Analyzing the Data

This is the hard part and involves making sense of the piles of data that you have gathered. There may be parts of the evidence that you cannot explain, but critically evaluating the data on hand and acknowledging that is better than trying to fit the findings into a pre-determined opinion.

Structure of a Political Science Paper


The introduction should lay down the research question clearly and explain why it is important or relevant. The structure of the paper should be outlined as well. The introduction should be relatively brief compared the overall length of the paper.

Body Sections

There may be one or more body sections as needed to make your point. This will constitute the bulk of your work and include a detailed discussion of the research question, an analysis and interpretation of the results in the light of your theoretical point of view, and a critical assessment of your research.


The conclusion should be linked to the thesis, but you should take care not to just restate the thesis exactly as it is from the introduction. A good conclusion should summarize the entire body of work, recap the key points and reiterate the researcher’s point of view. Never introduce new points or write anything at this point that conflicts with the thesis statement.