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Me: I mean YES I have one and NO you can’t borrow it… Me: well it’s fitted for me for one thing, and second it’s a military suit coat… Besides its got rank sewn on it Guy looking for Sports Jacket: ahhh good point, good point thanks anyways Me: no problem *shuts door Guy looking for Sports Jacket: Dude nobody has a damn jacket I can borrow… Guy looking for Sports Jacket: yeah I already asked all these guys down the hall So this wasn’t the most interesting conversation.I definitely didn’t expect to be a part of it either.Papers normally require that a student identify a broad area of research related to the course, focus the topic through some general background reading, identify a clear research question, marshal primary and secondary resources to answer the question, and present the argument in a clear and creative manner, with proper citations. There is no better way to hone the skills of life-long learning than by writing individual research papers.
The process forces you to ask good questions, find the sources to answer them, present your answers to an audience, and defend your answers against detractors.
Those are skills that you will use in any profession you might eventually pursue.
You would begin by reading some general secondary sources on the collapse of Communism, from which you might surmise that two factors were predominant: economic problems of Communist central planning and Mikhail Gorbachevs reforms in the Soviet Union. In this case, you might examine the speeches of British political leaders, editorials in major British newspapers, and voting support for the Scottish National Party or other regional parties.
Primary sources in this case might include economic statistics, memoirs of politicians from the period or reportage in east European newspapers (available in English or other languages). You might also arrange an interview with an expert in the field: a noted scholar, a British government representative, a prominent journalist.
The point is that you should attempt to identify either: Professional social scientistshistorians, political scientists, sociologists, international affairs expertswork on both these kinds of questions.
In the best published social science writing you will be able to identify a clear how or why question at the heart of the research.How have conceptions of race changed in the US since the 1960s?How do different electoral systems affect the behavior of political parties?What and when questions are only the starting point for writing research papers.Obviously, you need to have a firm grasp of the facts of the case, but you must then move on to answer a serious and important why or how question in the paper itself.How has a social or political phenomenon changed from one period to another? Why have some countries been more successful in the transition from Communism than others?Why did the Labour Party win the last British general election?But now that I have that part complete I want to talk about this entire conversation and about this guy’s argument on trying to borrow someone’s suit coat.First off I find it hard to even call this an argument. To write first-rate research papers, follow the following simple ruleswell, simple to repeat, but too often ignored by most undergraduates.At the beginning of a course, you will probably not know enough about the major scholarly topics that are of most importance in the field, the topics that are most well-covered in the secondary literature or the topics that have already had the life beaten out of them by successive generations of writers.