Goals of Independent Work

By the time they graduate, concentrators in the Department of Politics are expected to have the ability to define a significant political question or problem and to answer it in an original, compelling way through a process of systematic research which may, depending on the nature of the topic selected, involve reading primary and secondary literature or original documents, interviewing, or compiling and analyzing statistical data.

In particular, students are expected to demonstrate the following skills:

  • define a significant question within the field of political science
  • formulate a hypothesis
  • gather and assess evidence
  • review critically the work of others on this subject
  • evaluate alternative methods of inquiry
  • critically review their own arguments
  • relate their findings and conclusions to a larger political context of issues
  • analytical writing skills