International Political Economy of Advanced Industrial Societies >> Content Detail



Reaction Papers

In each reaction paper, critique the week's readings in 2-3 pages. A critique will most likely begin with a brief, cogent summary of some or all of the readings, but be careful not to spill too much ink on summarizing. The thrust of the paper should be an "analytical reaction" in which you criticize, synthesize, or otherwise react to the readings. Examples include discussing: how an author's argument is logically inconsistent; flaws with empirical tests; additional tests that could bolster an author's argument; how two or more arguments can be usefully combined; how readings from earlier in the semester can inform the current week's readings. This is not an exhaustive list, so feel free to let your own analytical reactions guide your reaction papers.

Research Proposal Template

The template below has been adapted from Jeffry A. Frieden.

I. Introduction. A clear, concise statement of the puzzle you are addressing, of your proposed resolution, and of the empirical work you will do.

II. The dependent variable. What you are trying to explain and why, as well as some sense of the range of variation in the dependent variable. Remember you are trying to convince others that this is a question worth asking (and answering).

III. Synthetic literature review. Develop an analytical summary of the existing attempts to explain your dependent variable or solve your puzzle. Do not catalog a "he said-she said" chronology; synthesize the existing literature.

IV. Your proposed explanations. Present a coherent logical case for each proposed explanatory variable, going step by step and leading up to working hypotheses.

V. Operationalization. Explain how you will measure your dependent and explanatory variables, and how you will evaluate the relationship among them.

VI. Methodology. Describe in some detail the ways in which you will gather data (statistics, interviews, archives, secondary literature, etc.), perform data analysis (econometrics, historical case studies, focused comparisons, etc.).

VII. Implications. Explain what you expect the completed project to add to our understanding of some broader set of analytical or empirical issues in Political Science.

Append a bibliography of references cited.

Recommended length: 15 pages.


  • Be concise, be precise.
  • Ask only questions to which there may be answers.
  • Provide logical underpinnings to all hypotheses.
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of your research design.
  • Indicate the broader relevance of your research.


© 2009-2020, All Rights Reserved.
Higher Ed Space ® is a registered trademark of AmeriCareers LLC.