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POLS 302 - Professor Tabares: Welcome!


Hello Class!  My name is Kate Williamson, and I designed this guide to help you with the research portion of your POLS 302 Problem-Solution Project. Move through each tab of the guide to help you identify, narrow and find reliable sources on your topic. 

If you have a research related question, here are a few options for you:

  • You can contact me directly:
    • by email at (Please put "POLS 302" in the subject) 
      • You can also email me to set up a time to meet over zoom with at least 1 business day of notice.
    • by calling me at (916) 484-8197 (if you leave a voicemail please mention POLS 302)
  • Use the 24/7 Chat with a Librarian global service. 
  • Call the Research Help Desk (916) 484-8458 to speak with a librarian (note: you may need to leave a message) 

Happy Searching!


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Kate Williamson
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Your Assignment

Problem-Solution Project

You will identify, investigate and explain a current political problem or challenge within one specific country or focused set of select countries and, prescribe a possible solution based on existing comparative political science concepts and theories discussed in this class.

Note: Keep in mind that this is a class about Comparative Politics, not International Relations, so the focus in on investigating and explaining events within countries rather than between them.

In completing the various steps of this project you will

  • Select a specific country and/or issue area within the scope of this class about which you are curious and intend to focus your research.
    • You will need to select at least one country as a primary case, but you may initially think about an issue area or problem and then use that to select a relevant case or set of cases.
    • The United States is not an acceptable primary case to choose for this project.
  • Identify and describe a specific, current problem or challenge related to key functions of modern states.
    • These criteria are relative rather than absolute. The intent is to identity a condition that still needs to be addressed, involves the state, regime or political actors,  and is in some way controversial in the sense that there is not yet agreement about it's cause and/or resolution - among relevant actors.
  • Take a position, supported by evidence, and communicate it.
    • Describe the nature of the problem in terms of its potential impact on the functioning of the state, society, and/or economy of the primary case or set of cases under consideration.
    • Explain a particular cause or set of causes of the problem based on examination of why this problem has occurred when, where and how it has occurred based on both evidence and theory.
    • Evaluate possible alternative ways to reduce or resolve the problem that are clearly related to the identified cause or causes.
    • Recommend a solution to the problem that is well supported by logic, theory, and evidence.
      • Your recommendation does not have to be a “cure all”; recognize what it can and cannot accomplish. At a minimum, you should be able to argue that it will address the main cause of the problem, it is feasible and that it is better than the alternatives.

Annotated Bibliography

For this project, your annotated bibliography will include a total of at least eight (8) sources, with at least four (4) "library" sources (books, academic journal articles, magazine or news articles, videos that were found using OneSearch). It should be the result of the initial background research you conduct to develop your research question and evaluate the availability and quality of potential sources relevant to this project.

Persuasive Paper

In a 1300-1800 word (5-7 page) paper, present a clear and focused argument in support of your proposed solution. An argument is more than merely your beliefs or opinions; your position must be based on key concepts, theory, logical reasoning, and supported evidence. 

Your paper must specifically reference and cite at least five (5) different credible and appropriate sources with at least two (2) "library" sources (those found using OneSearch).

  • Credible and appropriate sources for this project do NOT include textbooks, encyclopedias and dictionaries (including wikis), tourist-related documents or similar secondary or tertiary sources intended to provide general knowledge for the public.
    • These sources may be consulted for general background information and to assist in identifying appropriate and credible sources but should not to be included as part of the minimum five (5) cited sources.

Review the complete Problem-Solution Project Description in your Canvas course.