Political science Research Design Proposal
Research Design Proposal – 1 page (10% of final grade)
Due: 27 February 2020 by 4 pm, HARD COPY
MAXIMUM is TWO PAGES – Try to make it ONE PAGE!
Introduction – The Goals of This Assignment
In this assignment you are beginning the research process for your Final Paper. You should introduce your research
question in this assignment, state why the question is of interest, and provide a short discussion of where the
research falls in Political Science. One can consider providing some previous research & literature detailing past
significant scholarship on your particular question.
Section II: The Research Question
State the core argument (3 sentences maximum). State the null hypothesis. Compose a one paragraph argument (no
more than several sentences) that reflects the underlying thrust of your research question and possible explanations.
Re-state this argument as an empirical generalization that could be used in studying a larger set of cases (such as a
population parameter as opposed to a sampling parameter). To do this, you need to compose an argument, its
corresponding empirical generalization, and delineate the plausible observable implications of the latter in a manner
that could be the basis for empirical investigation.
Section III: Theory & Tentative Hypothesis Formulation
The initial theoretical discussion (3 to 5 sentences maximum) detailing how we conceptualized previous approaches
AND which also integrates your research into a new theoretical contribution.
Delineate an initial hypothesis(es). In the formulation of a hypothesis (referred to as “hypothesis formation” in
Hoover & Donovan), one critical element is the operationalization of your concept to be studied. Towards this end,
do the following:
a. Name the principal conditions that a hypothesis must satisfy;
b. Define each of these conditions;
c. Craft a hypothesis, in standard OLS notation, that predicts how this hypothesis would work (for
example, how vote choice would work for a presidential candidate in a specific election);
d. How would you “operationalize” the variables in your hypothesis? What is each variable
measuring when captured through this operationalization?
Section IV: Conceptual Model
Draw a “picture” of your model such as we have done on the board throughout class. In your diagram, you need to
illustrate the individual steps in the “decision process” that link cause and effect in the argument. That is, draw or
“trace” the process associated with your model.
NOTE: Your null hypothesis may require a separate diagram. You might consider the following as you do this:
What data would you have to collect to assess the observable implications for your Research Hypothesis? For your