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GOVT 395

Professor Charles King, School of Foreign Service and Department of Government 

Notes on research papers (undergrad and grad)

The research paper abstract should present an overview of the following aspects of your project (you need not use the following headings, but make sure that you include something about at least these issues):

1. Paper title
2. A discussion of the topic: What is it? Why is it important? What is the central research question?
3. A discussion of secondary sources: What secondary literature exists on your topic (books, journal articles)?
4. A discussion of primary sources: What primary sources will you use to investigate your topic? What are their limitations? Where are they located? Do you have the skills needed to use them?

The goal of the abstract is to give me a reasonable overview of your topic, so that I can critique your topic, your approach, and your major sources. The abstract can be written in either a formal academic style (in this case, the abstract may eventually form the first few pages of your larger paper) or a more conversational style, in which you talk to me about your general ideas and proposed topic.

The abstract itself will not be graded--but turning one in is required.

© Copyright 2004, Charles King
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