Good research paper topics and tips for writing a political science research paper

Are you facing the task of finding good research paper topics for a political science research paper? It’s always a good idea to begin by asking your professor for guidelines on how to approach your subject and format your paper—if they don’t already appear in the course syllabus. Here are some tips and suggestions to help you find your focus, discover the best sources and track down tools you can use to help you get your paper done in record time.

Research paper topics

Political science is one of those areas of study that covers a very wide area. Do yourself a favor: narrow down your topic to something manageable. The sooner you do this the better. To help you find your topic, head over to Questia, the Internet’s largest library of full-text books and articles.

Start your search by browsing the library. Select the topic Politics and Government and then explore subcategories that include:

  • political movements
  • political parties
  • political figures
  • international relations
  • public policy

Any one of these subcategories can help you move to the next step in writing your research paper. Let’s say that you choose Public Policy. Subcategories here include:

  • trade policy
  • tax reform
  • health care reform
Political Science topics

Outside the West Hartford, Connecticut town hall before a health care reform town hall meeting (Photo by Sage Ross)

Now we’re getting somewhere. Health care reform is a hot topic because the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is going into effect January 1, 2014.  If you decide that this is a topic rich with possibilities, you’ll find your reward with a number of books and articles, including an overview of the subject, “Health Care Reform Highlights,” from the August 2013 issue of HRMagazine.

An article like this can help breakdown a topic — in this case, offering a list of what organizations believe to be the barriers to implementing health care reform:

  • Complexity of the law  41%
  • Lack of understanding the details of the law and its impact on the organization 27%
  • Not applicable; there is no implementation  barrier for my organization 10%
  • Cost of implementing  10%
  • Employee out-of-pocket expense 5%
  • Other 7%

Tips and tools for writing a research paper

While at Questia be sure to check out the research tutorials. You’ll write a top notch research paper after you learn how to plan a paper, conduct research, evaluate sources and cite sources. Amaze your instructors with the quality of work that you’re able to produce after cruising through these video tutorials.

You’ll also amaze yourself with how much easier it is to complete your research paper once you make use of Questia’s productivity tools to help you find, catalog and cite your sources.

Political science blogs

When completing your research for a political science paper, you might want to include political science blogs as sources. When looking at blogs it’s important to consider the opinions and biases of the author (credit leach at dhead). Some of the best blogs for research are those that are run by colleges and professors. One example is the blog Smart Politics from the University of Minnesota.

In an August 23, 2013 post titled, “Scott Walker’s Ticket to Ride: Obama in the White House?” Eric Ostermeier outlined what may be Wisconsin republican governor Scott Walker’s plan to win the next gubernatorial election.

“A Smart Politics review of Wisconsin’s gubernatorial electoral history since the Great Depression finds that the state has voted for the candidate of a political party other than the one occupying the White House in 26 of the last 31 cycles, or 84 percent of the time,” Ostermeier observed.

Other political science blogs worth a look are:

  • The Wolf Den
  • Outside the Beltway
  • Abstract Politics

Other Political Science Resources

  • The Library of Congress: Government, Politics and Law offers topics such as civil rights, the courts and the judicial branch, elections and voting.
  • Real Clear Politics contains links to hundreds of current news articles and video highlights.
  • The American Political Science Association (APSANet) features a section dedicated to students where you can find links to information about networking with others in the political science community, trends, data and careers in political science.
  • MIT Open Courseware contains lecture notes from several political science courses that have been held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  • Gallup, as in Gallup poll research studies, showcases information derived from its polls.
  • Academic Earth’s political science page hosts free video courses on such topics as game theory, international politics and capitalism.

What political science topics get you most heated for debate? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Browse and read about more political science topics at Questia.

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