Why does a specific aspect of politics work as it does?
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?
Follow up the suggested reading on the course syllabus or the footnotes or bibliographies of the texts you are reading for the course.
After that, speak with the professor about some of your general ideas and the possible research directions you are thinking about pursuing.
Research questions that do not require an argument are just bad questions.
For example, a paper on What happened during the Mexican revolution?
And you should do all this as early in the course as possible.
A research question, at least in the social sciences, begins with the word why or how.
How do different electoral systems affect the behavior of political parties?
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.