a current international phenomenon/event

As part of your course requirements, you will write a research paper. Your topic should be a current international phenomenon/event. For example, you can choose to cover a conflict (internal or external), international relationship (or non-relationship), a single issue of international concern (e.g. human rights, climate change, refugees), a breach of international law, a foreign policy decision, or a treaty negotiation.

The paper requirements are as follows:

  • In your paper you should use at least one of the systems (International level, State level, Individual level) to analyze your chosen international phenomenon. The research paper should have a succinct introduction related to your topic, a clearly defined thesis indicating the lens you will be using for your analysis, body paragraphs supporting your thesis and a conclusion.
  • Begin with a succinct introduction related to your topic and a clearly defined thesis (assertion of what you intend to prove in the paper) indicating the lenses you will be using for your analysis.
  • Include explanations of the ways in which individuals develop, interact and organize themselves in at least one sphere (political, religious, social, economic, etc.) as it pertains to your topic
  • Demonstrate the significance and vitality of social organizations ranging from groups to institutions in your topic
  • Incorporate specific examples and evidence from scholarly sources into your paper, and explain how they relate to your thesis. You must use scholarly sources. Do not rely too heavily on one source. Although there is not a minimum number of sources, you will likely need 3+ sources to sufficiently support your thesis statement.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses of contenting explanations or interpretations for social, behavioral or historical phenomena as it pertains to your topic.
  • Evaluate the evidence supporting conclusions about the behavior of individuals, groups, institutions or organizations as they relate to your topic.
  • Assess the role of diversity among individuals, cultures or societies in the context of your topic.
  • Identify ways social, behavioral or historical knowledge can impact personal, ethical, civic or global decisions and responsibilities.
  • Illustrate the global interconnections through your topic and the impact of your topic on global stability/stewardship.
  • Organize your paper logically by grouping together related evidence to show patterns, similarities and/or differences related to the focus of your paper.
  • Conclude by summarizing the major points you have made in the paper and pointing out how they have led you to your conclusion. Your conclusion should match your thesis.
  • 1250-1500 words, please include a word count of the text of the paper.
  • Works Cited. Do not include the Works Cited in the word count.
  • You can use the citation style you prefer, but you must be consistent throughout the paper.
  • The research paper is worth 120 points.

Possible Topics for POLS 271 Research Paper:

US-Iran Relations


Jordanian Refugee Policy

Nigeria and Boko Haram

Columbia-FARC Peace

Cuba US relations

Venezuelan Crisis

African countries withdraw from the International Criminal Court

Zimbabwe under Mugabe

Impact of NAFTA on Mexico, Canada, US (choose one)

Rise of Populism in Europe (choose a country)


Russia Superpower Potential

China and South China Sea dispute

Israeli Settlements in Palestine

Guantanamo Bay

North Korea Relations with China

Iran Nuclear Treaty


Climate/Environment Policy



Foreign Aid Policy (Effectiveness—choose one policy or country)

International Criminal Court

US-Mexico “War on Drugs”


Syrian Civil War