A step-by-step guide to writing empirically-focused research papers. Powner, an expert teacher, offers clear, detailed, and often entertaining instructions for formulating hypothesis, doing pre-research, selecting appropriate research designs, selecting cases, collecting and managing both qualitative and quantitative data, preparing data for analysis, writing up research findings, practicing peer review, and delivering findings in posters and presentations, and preparing work for publication. Each chapter contains interesting and useful examples (both hypothetical and real), exercises to help students apply what they've learned, and pedagogical features to inspire, instructor, and aid further research, including “Peer Pointers” (quotes from former students that illustrate “aha!” moments), “Talking Tips” (fundamental and surprising tip for research), and appendix materials that include formatting guidelines and a list of major data sources for political science. Making the book as turnkey as possible are downloadable student and instructor resources, including lesson plans and activities for instructors, solutions manual to in-text exercises, links to common citation guides, data sources, journals that publish student papers, and conferences where students can share papers and posters.

Doing Pre-research

Pre-research is what one does before collecting data and estimating statistics. The pre-research phase of an empirical project is crucial to the project's success. In this phase, you investigate the status of extant knowledge in the scholarly community about your research question, including finding out what data exist and/or are commonly used for your concepts. You also develop a sense of where your proposed answer to the research question—your theory—fits into the literature. These important steps help you avoid unnecessary duplication of work. No one wants to reinvent the wheel, but the only way to avoid it is to go find out what we already know.

This chapter begins by reviewing the sections of a standard empirical paper, of the type that you ...

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