5th Edition

Writing in Political Science A Practical Guide

By Diane E. Schmidt Copyright 2018
    610 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    610 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    A complete, professional resource for writing an effective paper in all subfields of political science, Diane Schmidt’s 25th anniversary edition provides students with a practical, easy-to-follow guide for writing about political ideas, events, policies, passions, agendas, and processes. It offers additional formats and guidelines focusing on the growing use of social media and the need for professional communication in blogs, tweets, forums, media sites, lectures on demand, and postings on websites. A collection of student papers shows students how to write well for better grades.

    After reading Writing in Political Science students will know how to:

    • choose and narrow a research topic;
    • formulate a research agenda;
    • quickly locate reputable information online;
    • execute a study and write up findings;
    • use the vocabulary of political science discourse;
    • follow the criteria used to evaluate student assignments when writing;
    • apply writing skills to an internship, civic engagement project, or grant proposal; and
    • manage and preserve achievements for career development.

    New to the Fifth Edition

    • Locating Research Materials: Updated links to all sources, expansion of appropriate sources to include mobile sources available through tweets, blogs, forums, and other informal communication; expansion of tools to include database searching; use of smart phone technology; and evaluation of source reliability to include commercial sources, Wikipedia, media sites, social media, and lectures on demand.
    • Creating Evidence: Evaluating data sources on the web including government databases, non-profits, and special interest/commercial data; and using collaborative forms of data collection. Includes a new section on Memorandums of Conversations (MEMCON), essential in recent political controversies.
    • Manuscript Formatting and Reference Styles: Updated examples of citing internet sites, blogs, forums, lectures on demand, and YouTube.
    • Format/Examples: Updated exam-writing treatment to include on-line, e-learning, open-book exams, media applications examples using YouTube and online media; restored legal briefs treatment; revised proposal examples; revised PowerPoint instructions to include diversity considerations; expanded formula for standard research papers to include wider disciplinary treatment, expanded communication techniques, format and examples of appropriate posting for social media and organizational websites, expanded internship treatment, inclusion of needs-assessment format and examples.
    • Career Development: Restoration of 3rd edition chapter and expansion of professional portfolio building including vitae, resume, cover letters, letters of intent, statement of purpose, and skills/competency discussions.
    • Updated citations for changes in The Chicago Manual of Style, 17th Edition, 2017 and The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, 8th Edition, 2016.

    Chapter 1 Political Inquiry

    Chapter 2 Critical Thinking about Politics

    Chapter 3 Topic Selection

    Chapter 4 Locating Research Materials Using Indexes, Databases, the Internet, and Mobile Sources

    Chapter 5 Creating Evidence with Primary and Secondary Data

    Chapter 6 Properties of a Good Essay or Research Paper

    Chapter 7 Common Problems with Writing

    Chapter 8 Practices and Expectations for Manuscript Format

    Chapter 9 Referencing Styles for Author-Date and Footnote/Endnotes Systems

    Chapter 10 Format and Examples of Activities to Enhance Comprehension and Synthesis of Class Materials

    Chapter 11 Format and Examples of Assignments for Managing and Processing Information

    Chapter 12 Format and Examples of Conventional Research Papers

    Chapter 13 Format and Examples of Assignments Requiring Special Techniques

    Chapter 14 Format and Examples of Assignments with Appropriate Formatting for Professional Communication

    Chapter 15 Format and Examples of Assignments Organizing and Documenting Achievements for Career Development


    Diane E. Schmidt is Professor of Public Administration and Policy in the Political Science Department of California State University-Chico. She has been the Coordinator of the Undergraduate Public Administration Program and consults with a wide variety of federal, state, and local government, as well as nonprofit and community organizations on community management, public personnel, labor policy, and policy analysis. She teaches courses in American institutions, political behavior, public policy analysis, public administration, collaborative management, and comparative government, including online courses and accessible courses for people with disabilities.

    Praise for the 25th Anniversary Edition of Writing in Political Science

    “This is the only textbook I know of that covers all the essential elements of undergraduate research and writing. I like the way that Schmidt includes numerous examples of the many different types of 'products' that students in the social sciences might be expected to deliver. Students must develop research and writing skills applicable to a wide range of topics and formats, so it is helpful for them to see illustrations of the both the process and products.”

    – David W. Thornton, Campbell University