Writing a research paper in your university life is among requirements for assessment and for graduation. A research paper in international relations may focus on different areas of the multidimensional field and may require you to analyze, discuss, evaluate, persuade, or synthesize content. Irrespective of the objective of your international relations term paper, it is important to master research and writing skills. This guideline provides international relations research paper tips, which come of our writers’ extensive experience. Make sure to follow them and take the most out of them.
The first and the most challenging aspect of writing your international studies research paper will be selecting an appropriate topic. Your lecturer may assign you a particular research paper topic. If this is the case, you only need to begin gathering ideas surrounding the given topic. On other occasions, you could be provided with several research topics and are expected to select one for your research. Nevertheless, it is equally difficult to select an appropriate topic among the ones provided. Conversely, it is common for professors to provide students with the freedom and flexibility to choose topics that interest them within the international relations field of study. Here are some tips to help you in choosing a topic for your research paper:
Select a topic you are interested in to ensure the research paper is informative and relevant. Your interest in a certain topic may be based on a need to explore current issues in international relations, a need to provide a solution to issues affecting nation’s diplomatic and foreign policies, or it could be based on gaps in existing international relations literature.
Narrow your ideas to generate a manageable topic. Manageability of a research topic is determined through scope and availability of information in this case:
In cases where you fail to develop topic ideas through brainstorming, you can consult your peers, discuss the matter with your professor, or refer to your lecture notes and texts on international relations to refresh your knowledge of the concepts in the area of study.
You may also need to think and analyze the who, what, when, where, and why questions that would guide you when formulating an appropriate topic; in this case, you need to answer the following questions:
Possible topics for your international relations research paper include:
Prewriting in research is a term that denotes a range of activities that help you start your writing process. Prewriting is a strategy that helps you develop ideas for your research, and guides you in exploring and organizing your thoughts before drafting your paper. By engaging in the process, you can also determine your research paper’s audience and purpose. Below is a list of some important prewriting activities.
Choosing a topic. As indicated above, topic selection, is the first and most important element of a research paper. The selected topic should fall within the international studies field of study and should be manageable and interesting. Ensure that the selected research topic has the potential to add value to existing international relations literature and persuade different stakeholders to adopt certain practices relevant to issues in international relations.
Freewriting. In writing, free writing is freedom at its best as it involves jotting down anything and everything that comes into your head. You do not need to pay attention to spelling or grammar. You can begin free writing with or without a topic.
Conduct research. Research may occur at every step of your writing process; thus, be ready to engage in different phases of the research. After conducting research geared towards selecting a topic for your paper, you should gather information for content purposes. The research step directly influences your research paper’s content and equips you with a basis for your argument, and evidence to support articulated claims. It is appropriate to research both primary and secondary sources to obtain a diversity of ideas.
Note taking. While conducting your research, take note of the important arguments, themes, theories, statistics, and facts documented in your sources. The process ensures you do not miss out on major theories and issues influencing the research topic. Precise and clear notes may provide quotes necessary for providing support to your claims.
Clustering. To cluster your ideas into meaningful information, write down major points on a piece of paper. Subsequently, use links to put together matching or related ideas. Clustering helps you to develop themes that focus on your subject matter. Once you are done with clustering, outline why the topic and research are significant, the relevant background material, the thesis and purpose statements, and the organizational plan for major and supporting ideas.
Outlining. An outline is a plan that organizes your ideas and researched information. Outlining works best after you are done with brainstorming, note taking, and conducting your research. The outlines can be formal or informal depending on the ideas developed and the research paper requirements. Ensure your outline is hierarchical, beginning with major arguments and proceeding to the supporting claims and evidence that explains a topic or phenomenon. If your research paper requires a formal outline, you may use numbers and lettered headings and subheadings. The numbers and lettered headings show relationships between ideas and facts and can save time by creating a system you can adjust.
You can use different types of headings such as:
Research Paper Title
A research paper title summarizes the main ideas of your research into a few words. A good research paper title should describe the content and purpose of your research using the fewest words possible. The title should be precise and interesting because it is the first element that draws the readers’ attention and determines whether the reader will be interested in the paper. Therefore, an effective and appropriate research paper title should define purpose in an interesting manner and using few words. The following parameters can be helpful in formulating a suitable title for your research paper:
The following are the basic tips to consider when writing a title for your international relations research paper:
The thesis statement is a sentence that summarizes your research paper content, provides your argument concerning the discussion topic, and provides readers with a direction of what to expect. In this case, you should formulate a thesis statement that informs your readers about the subject of your paper and the position you will take in the discussion. Remember that a strong thesis statement requires proof, which implies that it is not merely a statement of fact. Therefore, ensure you support your thesis statement with supporting evidence that will interest the readers. The following tips are effective for drafting your thesis statement:
To have a good thesis statement, ensure it:
Unlike an essay or a term paper, an international relations research paper has almost six parts that form a formal structure of the paper. You should ensure your research paper has a title page, abstract, introduction, body, conclusion, and reference section. Each of the sections contains different information and is significant in the research paper.
Title Page. The title page contains the title of the paper and is the first element the reader encounters in your research paper. Often, it is written as a stand-alone text own page. However, the title can appear just above the paper’s abstract. Your title page should contain:
The above components may not all be necessary for your paper since some professors prefer customized formats. Observe your assignment’s requirement for the title page before submitting your paper.
Abstract. The abstract summarizes the paper by providing the significance of the study, methods used to conduct the research, findings, and their implications. The abstract should be less than 250 words and should indicate the:
Introduction. The introduction of your research paper should provide readers with background information needed to understand the paper. The significance of the research and objectives should be presented in this section along with a thesis statement. Although the length may vary, the introduction should occupy at least 10% of your research paper.
Body. This section is the main part of the research paper and should present your arguments in a systematic and logical manner. Arguments can be presented in paragraphs or can be categorized in themes under subheadings. If the research is investigative, it is ideal to break down the section into further sub-sections such as methodology, findings, analysis, and discussion.
Conclusion. This forms the last aspect of your research paper. Ensure your conclusion sums up your major arguments and restates your thesis statement.
During the research paper writing process, you may err at any point in grammar, sentences, tense, or paragraph mechanics. These errors affect your overall grade; thus, engage in a review of your research paper to ensure it is free of paragraph, sentence, and word errors. Ensure to reference all the cited sources using appropriate referencing styles. This might be time-consuming, yet rewarding in the end.