PS 343 Political Economy of Developed Democracies

Guidelines for Writing Papers, Winter 2004


This first document contains general style guidelines applicable for all papers, regardless of paper type. It contains items in the paper heading/on the cover page, information about the body of the paper, several items for the end of the paper, and some general requirements.  A hard copy of the paper is due at the beginning of lecture on the due date; late penalties begin at 10:15 AM.  Finally, links to assignment-specific instructions and suggestions are at the bottom of the page.


I prefer answering questions to deducting points. The implication of this is that you should plan to consult with me early and often, particularly if you are taking this course for writing credit. I am happy to review introductions and/or outlines, and, as time permits, to make rough comments on early drafts.  I have extensive office hours, and you are also welcome to use ‘Virtual Office Hours’ on AOL IM as you are writing or with other questions.  You should also plan to consult the rubric before submitting your paper.



1. Include the following information in the paper heading or on an optional cover page: your name, the course number, which paper assignment you are fulfilling (critical review or empirical application), the assignment due date, and whether this is a working draft, the initial submission, or your revised submission.


2. Acknowledge all assistance. This normally takes the form of a statement at the bottom of the cover page, or a footnote/endnote after the paper title, saying something along the lines of, “The author would like to thank Bob Smith, Suzy Jones, and Bill Hill (Sweetland Writing Center) for helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.”  All paper reviewers or individuals consulted should be cited, particularly classmates, to avoid potential charges of plagiarism.


I strongly encourage the use of peer review, and/or Sweetland Writing Center writing consultants (call 764-4029 for an appointment) or peer tutoring (walk-in, 7-11 PM, AH G219).  I am happy to arrange peer exchanges; email me at lpowner.  (Email incomplete to elude the spambots.)


3. Your introduction must include an explicit thesis statement containing your argument. Good thesis statements will be specific, clear, and provide focus to your argument.  A good resource on introductions and thesis statements is Hook, Line, and Sinker, which provides a framework for acceptable introductions and discusses how to construct and use a thesis to maximal advantage.




1. You may use in-text citations (parenthetical references), endnotes, and/or footnotes. (SEE NOTE BELOW about citation styles.) I have no preference as long as you are consistent.  If you choose to do footnotes/endnotes, you may do either full-citation ones, where the entire citation of the source is included in the first reference and no supplemental bibliography is needed, or you may use short-form references for all (last name, year, page or some other appropriate form) and attach a separate bibliography with complete references.


You may want to consider the nature of the paper you are writing and/or the nature of the sources you are citing before making a decision on this matter.  You should also be aware that foot/endnotes may be used for content as well as for citation, even if you are using parenthetical citation.   I am happy to discuss these issues.


2. Number all pages (cover page and references/bibliography do not need to be numbered but it’s nice if you can).  If you number the pages in the header or footer, please include your last name (e.g., “Powner 4”) in case pages are separated.


3. ****Conduct a grammar review!! Microsoft Word and Word Perfect both provide grammar and spelling checkers in their software.  If you are unfamiliar with this feature, ask a computer lab consultant or Leanne.  Be alert for dangling prepositions, passive voice, split infinitives, wordiness, contractions, extended prepositional strings (three or more in a row), too many Nerd Words, etc. Grammar and spelling errors will result in deductions, as will excessively wordy or pompous writing styles.  Handout on Common Errors: non-native speakers of English in particular should consult this, as should anyone else whose grammar preparation is only dimly remembered.




1. Use a recognized citation form for references and bibliography, and indicate it on your final page. APA, Chicago (Turabian), and MLA are acceptable. Style sheets can be found online: Chicago   APA    MLA


2. If you are not using full-citation foot/endnotes, you must include a separate bibliography page of works cited in your document.  This should include any course texts, lecture notes, class handouts, or information/arguments/etc. provided by the instructor(s) to which you make reference or from which you draw information or arguments.


3. Include a word count for the body of the paper on the final page.  The easiest way to do this is to create your cover page (if you opt to use one) and/or bibliography in a separate file.




1. Standard academic publishing conventions apply: Times New Roman 12-point font, 1” margins on all sides (BEWARE: Word’s new default setting is 1.25”), double-spaced, new paragraphs indented, printed only on one side of the paper.  Staple your paper, or use a report cover for the copy to be graded. All the computer labs and the library have staplers; you have no excuse.


2. Turn in all previous drafts, including edited versions. Please indicate ‘working draft 1,’ ‘working draft 2,’ etc.  If you have a number of drafts, consider putting all work in a folder or large binder clip to prevent separation.


3. In general, these papers should contain around 2400-3000 words in the body, or about 8-10 pages for most writing styles.  DO NOT add filler if you are below that word count.  Instead, discuss with an instructor other elements you might add to support your argument.  In the end, though, when you are done, you are done. I would rather see a concise, well-argued paper which is a bit short than a long-winded pile of words burying a good argument beneath a flood of painful prose just for the sake of the word count.



Assignment-specific guidelines and suggestions:


Empirical Application

Critical Review


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