Description

Research proposal
This week you need to propose what topic you will cover for you literature review assignment.   In this literature review, you will be expected to assess the literature in regards to the relative merits of two IR theories in explaining the outcome of a case study of your choice. In order to prepare you for you Literature Review assignment, please provide:
1. A  brief description of the specific case-study that you are interested in examining, and an explanation for why this is an important case to study (for example: the Cold War, the Israeli-Arab conflict, the Kyoto Treaty, the Landmine Ban treaty, European integration, the rise of China, America’s potential decline. In short, there are many different topics that you can choose from. Just make sure that the topic that you choose is directly related to international relations).
2. A clear and concise research question (for example: why didn’t the Cold War escalate into an actual war between the United States and the Soviet Union? What explains the failure of the Kyoto Treaty? What explains the passage of the Landmine Ban treaty? Why did the United States and the Soviet cooperate during WWII? Why did the League of Nations fail?). Note that a good research question is analytical in nature, and can be answered within the time and space available. In other words, it is not merely descriptive, and should not take a book-length manuscript to answer. A descriptive question is one that seeks to describe an event (i.e. what happened? Example: what did Germany do in September 1939?), an analytical question focuses on why things happened the way they did, or why expected outcomes did not happen(see the examples above). Keep in mind that predictive questions (or speculative questions) are also not suitable for this assignment. We don’t know how events are going to play out in the future (regardless of how confident we are), and the effectiveness of IR theories cannot be tested with respect to events that have not happened.
3. A list of six preliminary scholarly sources
Please note that you will not be writing an actual research paper.  Rather, you will focus on a literature review that you would have used to write a full research paper were it required.  So what you will be doing is discussing the current state of literature about your topic.  What are the main works?  How can you categorize them? Are there gaps?

  
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