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Writing in Political Science: A Brief Guide applies the key concepts of rhetoric and composition--audience, purpose, genre, and credibility--to examples based in political science. It is part of a series of brief, discipline-specific writing guides from Oxford University Press designed for today's writing-intensive college courses. The series is edited by Tom Deans (University of Connecticut) and Mya Poe (Northeastern University).
Mika LaVaque-Manty is Arthur F. Thurnau Professor and Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan.
Danielle LaVaque-Manty earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Michigan and an MFA in creative writing at The Ohio State University. She currently freelances as an academic editor and writing consultant.
Table of Contents
Chapter One: Thinking and Writing Like a Political Scientist Thinking Like a Political Scientist Subfield differences in political science Thinking Like a Writer: understanding how reader expectations affect rhetorical choices Audience Purpose Genre Credibility Common Genres of Political Science Writing Common Genres in Political Science Courses How to Use This Book
Chapter Two: Decoding Your Writing Assignment Decoding the Assignment Prompt How to Handle a Confusing Prompt Decoding the Assignment Checklist
Chapter Three: The Writing Process -- Literature Reviews and Research Papers Deciphering the Scholarly Conversation Finding a Research Question Determine how to answer your question: Understanding theories, cases, and comparisons Connecting a Theory to a Case Structuring Arguments: From notes and data to an outline to a paper Crafting Effective Introductions: First pass The body of your paper: Structural options Literature reviews: Conversing with sources and the problem of the disappearing author Deploying persuasive evidence: Cherry picking sources vs. grappling with counterarguments Concluding with Strength Two Versions of the "So What?" Question Limitations and Future Directions The First Shall Come Last: Crafting Titles Just when you thought you were finished: Strategies for revision Checklist for Writing Effective Papers
Chapter Four: Writing About Data You Collect Yourself -- Research Proposals and IMRD Papers Types of Data Discussing Data Collected by Others How Did They Frame the Research Question? Entering the Scholarly Conversation: Proposing your own research The Introduction to Your Research Proposal The Methods Section of Your Research Proposal Collecting and Analyzing Your Data Drawing clear pictures with data: Practical and ethical dos and don'ts for visuals Common Ways of Presenting Data The Ethics and Rhetoric of Visuals The IMRD Paper Introduction Methods Results Discussion The Abstract Final polishing: Titles and revision Checklist for Writing Papers About Data You Collect Yourself
Chapter Five: Writing Response Papers, Applying Theories to Cases, Advocacy Papers, and Blog Posts Response Papers Checklist for Response Papers Applying Theories to Cases Checklist for Applying Theories to Cases Advocacy Papers Checklist for Advocacy Papers Blog Posts A Caution About Blogs and Intellectual Property Checklist for Blog Posts
Chapter Six: Style Is Meaning Signposting Transitions Hedging Crafting Clear Prose Context and Emphasis Choosing Precise Verbs Avoiding Common Missteps Grandiose Claims Overwriting Unintentional Sexism Checklist for Writing with Style
Chapter Seven: Selecting and Citing Sources Defining Primary and Secondary Sources Locating Credible Primary Sources Locating Credible Secondary Sources Checklist for Choosing Credible Sources Paraphrasing vs. Quoting vs. Summarizing Integrating direct quotations into your writing Editing quoted text for grammatical consistency Direct Quotation Checklist The Art of Summarizing The Art of Paraphrasing Paraphrasing Checklist Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism Patchwork Plagiarism Common Citation Styles in Political Science Why to Cite When to Cite When to Cite Checklist How to Cite Common Errors to Avoid in Chicago Style Common Errors to Avoid in APSA Style
Appendix A: Seeking and Using Feedback Appendix B: Further Information on Collecting and Representing Data Research Guides Visualizing Data