Your first written assignment is to construct an annotated bibliography on one of the subjects listed below. An annotated bibliography is different than a typical works cited that you might include in a research paper. It lists the full citation but is followed by a summary of the work as well as a paragraph or two of analysis that identifies the strength and weaknesses of the piece and how it compares or contrasts with other works in the list in terms of content, focus, method, and other relevant features. Items will also be organized in broader sections that help the reader make sense of the literature. For instance, if I were to give you a subject as broad as “war” (I won’t, that’s too big), you might organize the literature into sections on causes and effects. Within each, you might subdivide further based on your reading of the literature. For instance under “causes,” you might list “leaders,” “territory,” the “balance of power,” etc. In creating this annotated bibliography, you should draw from articles in the social scientific literature – those aiming to rigorously explain a particular phenomenon. Social science articles will 1) make an explanatory argument about why something happened/happens , 2) compare that argument with other arguments drawn from the academic literature, as evident by their citation of other social science works 3) systematically test that argument in light of some kind of data, whether qualitative or quantitative, 4) avoid normative judgments but rather restrict their scope to positivistic evaluation. A good marker for whether an article is a piece of social science research is the publication outlet, although this is not always a given. Social science articles appear in social science journals, which typically have an academic audience. Newspapers and magazines are NOT scholarly journals (although are sometimes useful as a data source for scholarly articles). However, journals like Foreign Affairs or Foreign Policy are not considered pieces of social science as they mostly feature normative arguments that make their cases through less-than-rigorous engagement with evidence. Law journals are typically solely descriptive, and therefore are not examples of social science research.
There are a number of well-respected journals whose content always meets social scientific standards. International Organization, International Security, International Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, and World Politics are good examples, but not the only ones. In your discussion section, your TA will help you to navigate some search engines and to assess the social scientific bona fides of a particular article. They will also show you how to use the articles you have to go further into the subject using the citations those articles contain. The end product will feature at least 10 articles (if you want to do more, that is fine, and will help you with the next writing assignment, but you can earn an ‘A’ with just 10. The heading will be the citation, in MLA style (see https://style.mla.org/). Next will come the summary, followed by the brief analysis. As an appendix, I also want you to include the “abstract” of each article so as to prevent you from using the author’s own words as your summary. You can order your entries based on the headings and subheadings you employ, which you will come up on your own based on the way that you think is logical given your engagement with the literature. You will be graded on 1) selection of 10 articles that meet the standard of social science, 2) your analysis, 3) your organization and categorization of that literature. Please choose one of the following subjects on which to write: Nuclear proliferation Human rights treaties Free trade agreements Terrorism
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