Types of Political Science Writing

There are differences in writing across disciplines, but also various genres within political science itself. Below are resources tailored to different political science writing assignments.

Writing a research paper:

Near the start of your undergraduate studies, we recommend purchasing the following reference on writing the political science research paper:

Lisa Baglione. Writing a Research Paper in Political Science: A Practical Guide to Inquiry, Structure, and Methods. Second Edition. Los Angeles, CA: CQ Press and SAGE Publications Ltd, 2012. (GW LibrariesAmazon)

Baglione offers advice on formulating a research paper question, lays out the parts of a conventional political science research paper, and provides examples of student writing.

Other resources include:

  • Research Papers, Department of Public and International Affairs, George Mason University.


Book review:


Thought paper:

  • Compare/Contrast Papers, University of Washington. Provides two outlines for a compare/contrast essay, and an example of the second method.

Policy memo:

  • Writing Policy Memos, Christopher Stone, Harvard University. Provides examples of strongly versus weakly worded memos.
  • Policy Memo Handout, Ryan Krog, PhD Student, George Washington University. Ryan developed this handout for an American Politics undergraduate course.

Political theory writing:

  • Writing Political Theory Papers, University of Washington. Highlights the similarities and differences between political theory and other political science writing. Presents advice on thesis statements, gives an example outline, and discusses using quotations effectively.