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.

Qualitative Data Collection and Management

The point of collecting qualitative data—what a lay person would call “doing research”—for an empirical paper is to test hypotheses. This is a fundamentally different purpose from other types of research you might have done for research papers in high school or other college courses. In practice, this means you need a carefully considered approach to collecting data, rather than the broad-sweep collection of information that you may have used in the past. Data collection is always the most time-consuming step of any research project. Inefficient data collection is both boring and frustrating, and it typically leads to poor research products. If you don't know what you're looking for, you'll collect a lot of information but very little data, ...

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