Writing in Political Science

Program for Writing and Rhetoric, University of Colorado  •  Spring 2017

Adobe Icon  Course syllabus

This advanced writing course, which teaches principles of academic writing through a careful examination of political science research, has two overarching and complementary aims. The first (WAC) goal is to have students develop fundamental and transferable skills of rhetorical analysis, information literacy, reading comprehension and critical thinking, and academic argumentation, which they can apply in all facets of their undergraduate education. Yet, by having students critically analyze a diverse selection of literature in American Politics, Public Policy, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Normative Political Theory, the second (WID) goal is to have students build knowledge of key standards of research and conventions in writing within the discipline of political science and across its various subfields.

Designed primarily for those majoring or minoring in political science—or the social science fields more broadly—this course challenges students to develop a working understanding of basic principles of social scientific inquiry, to enhance their ability to interpret descriptive statistics and regression tables and to critically analyze the empirical analyses of peer-reviewed scholarship, and to emulate the thesis-driven and evidenced-based writing that they will be expected to complete in content-based political science courses. In this way, this writing-intensive class is intended to preface and to augment the advanced quantitative, qualitative, and analytical research methods students will be expected to learn and apply in their upper-division studies in political science. Students will also be strongly encouraged to think about their civic responsibilities as writers of political science, and how the knowledge their research and writing helps to generate may be used to improve the welfare of others.