SHORT ANALYTICAL PAPER GUIDELINES
You will write three short analytical papers for this course (the first is due on October 4th). Each paper
will be on a specific set of readings. For instance, the first paper will derive from the early readings on
the political theorists. Each paper must show not only a solid understanding of the readings but also
exhibit an ability to see analytical connections between ideas, concepts, and thinkers. Ideally, the papers
will also show a facility for seeing relationships between the readings and contemporary events and ideas.
The following are possible paper topics for the first set of readings:
Comparison of the ideas of Plato and Aristotle on democracy and the potential for human beings
to rule themselves.
Examination of Plato’s ideas on democracy and their application to today’s American democracy
or democracies around the world.
Analysis of Hobbes’ views on human nature and the need for strong monarchical rule and
comparison to modern day domestic or world politics.
Critique of Rousseau’s ideas of government and an assessment of their applicability today.
These are only a few of the many possible topics for the first paper. Notice that you may pick only one
theorist to address, although you may want to compare two or more of them. (Similarly, your second and
third paper will focus on chapters in our text. You may choose one particular chapter on which to focus
or, where applicable, discuss more than one chapter.) However many theorists (or, later, chapters) you
choose, it should be clear from the paper that you have not only read the texts carefully, but have spent
significant time considering the subtlety and sophistication of the ideas. Although an analytical—rather
than a research—paper, the expectations for the paper in terms of form and substance are nonetheless
high. See the opposite side of this sheet for a discussion of “standards” expected for papers.
Each paper should be roughly 6 pages in length, double-spaced. (No egregious font/spacing
manipulations, please.) You do not need to consult any sources outside of our class readings. However, if
you do quote or reference our class readings, provide a citation so I know to what source you are
referring. Naturally, if you use sources outside of our class readings, you MUST provide citations.
Otherwise, plagiarism will be a potential problem (see below for more on plagiarism).
When you cite particular sources, you should follow the APSA style, i.e., in-text citations with a
bibliography for all sources used or consulted. See the following link on Towson’s website for guidance: