Department of Political Science, Queens College

Writing Political Science Papers: Some Useful Guidelines
Peter Liberman, Dept. of Political Science, Queens College, October 2006

A good paper informs and persuades; to do this it must be logically organized, clearly argued, and well documented. Good writing is hard work, but following the rules of thumb below will help you to write better papers and to do so more efficiently.

Revise Your Paper
19. Re-read and revise your writing. To improve your writing you will want to read it critically, like most people and your professor will. But it is hard to read your own writing objectively, and writers are naturally very attached to words they’ve just put on the page. Taking a break will help you to get a clearer perspective on your own ideas and prose, to read your own draft as critically as if someone else had written it.

Try to finish a first draft at least a few days before the paper is due. After taking a break from it, review the guidelines in this memorandum (the editorial check-list below might be useful), and re-read your draft from beginning to end, marking passages that need to be moved, removed, or improved.