My research topic is on Southern Identity and if race has something to do with southern identity. This needs to be a content analysis.Independent Research Literature Review (Draft) Instructions
Spring 2020 Capstone: The Politics of Identity
Due Date: Friday, February 28 on OAKS by the beginning of class time
Audience you are writing for: Academics and researchers
Technical Directions:
• Times New Roman font. Do not change fonts or font color throughout the paper.
• 12-point size, 1-inch margins, 8-12 pages double-spaced
• On the top of the page put your name and the title of your paper. That’s it.
This draft introduces your topic, proposes your research question and then situates it into the
larger literature surrounding it. When you “situate your question in the literature” this means you
need to summarize and synthesizes the academic work that explains the (specific) topic you’re
interested in and builds up evidence from past studies that lend support to your stated hypothesis
(or set of goals). For many of you the “evidence” you’ll be citing could be a general theory (ex:
linked fate) and/or more specific applications of that theory in a variety of other studies. This is
the type of literature review you would see in a standard empirical research paper in a peerreviewed journal.
This draft should include:
• An INTRODUCTION that brings the reader into the topic. Usually introductions use a
real-world example or anecdote of the phenomena you’re studying so that people see the
practical importance of it. For example, someone writing about identification with
primary candidates might open with an anecdote about the fact that Bernie supporters
started their own dating website in 2016, indicating that they are forming a unique
identity related to this politician. Often times people will pose their research question at
the beginning or the end of the introduction.
• A LITERATURE REVIEW that includes a theory + past evidence from peer reviewed
papers and books that are organized in a way that “tells a story” and leads to a hypothesis.
It is recommended that you break this literature review up into sections with sub-headers
to indicate each “piece” of the story. There is a 15 source minimum for this section.
• There does NOT need to be any conclusion paragraph at this stage. You can end with the
hypothesis or stated set of goals.
In text citations:
When citing the conclusions of another study, put the authors name and the year it was published
in parentheses. Either of the following is appropriate:
Example: Newman and Boggs (2008) found that white Americans trust the police more than
black Americans.
Example 2: There is evidence that white Americans trust the police more than black Americans
(Newman and Boggs 2008)
Reference Page:
At the end of your literature review there should be a reference page with the APA 6th Edition
style citations for each source you cited throughout your paper.
As obvious as this may sound, the most important aspect of a literature review is that it’s
organized in a way that makes sense and is coherent. It should not talk about the conclusions of
studies on your topic in a way that is seemingly random and without structure. The review needs
to be organized and needs to flow.
The paper needs to synthesize the literature in a way that very clearly leads to a hypothesis. You
should not have a hypothesis at the end of this section that is unrelated to the literature you’ve
been citing and simply based off of your personal beliefs, ideas and intuitions.
Anticipated questions:
Question: Is it okay to cite theories and past evidence from non-political science disciplines?
Answer Yes, some of you will look at the communication literature, historical literature,
sociology literature etc. As long as you’re applying it to something related to the course theme,
it’s okay to go outside the boundaries of traditional political science research.
Question: It looks like only a few different people research the topic I’m interested in. Is it okay
that I’m citing only a few people?
Answer: Academics have highly specialized fields of expertise and it’s common to cite a few
authors many times over. Your review should not be only 1 or 2 authors though. There are
usually more than that, but it’s okay to cite a couple people repeatedly.
Question: Can I change my topic late in the semester?
Answer: I usually allow this for my 205 class, but since this is a 20ish page paper, you’re going
to be pretty screwed if you’re changing topics late in the game. You should try to stick to the
topic you began with. Talk to me if this is a problem.
It is usually clear when someone is plagiarizing or turning in a research-related paper that is far
beyond the capabilities of the average undergraduate. Please see the syllabus for the policies
related to plagiarism. PLEASE NOTE: cutting and pasting from other people’s work, whether it
is published or not, is unacceptable.

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