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Milne Library SUNY Geneseo Subject Guides


PLSC 354: Government and Politics of Latin America - Professor West: Research Tools

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you should be able to:

  • Identify key political actors in Latin America, including – but not limited to – the military, social movements and political parties.
  • Define basic terms and concepts used in the study of the comparative politics of Latin America.
  • Apply theories of political science to explain political outcomes in Latin America.
  • Think critically about published research addressing Latin American politics.
  • Conduct research on the politics of a Latin American country of interest to you, and analyze those politics in organized and well-written short papers and a final research paper.

News outlets

Databases (For scholarly sources)

Research Paper Assignment

This paper requirement is designed to allow you to conduct an in-depth examination of one aspect of politics within a single Latin American country of interest to you. Within this paper, you are required to demonstrate both comprehension of the course material and independent thought about politics in your country of interest.

  1. Present a clear research question focused on one aspect of politics in your Latin American country of interest. This question must, in some way, be related to one of the topics we have covered in the course. 
  2. Investigate the causes, or consequences, of your topic as it relates to politics in your country of interest. This paper should NOT be just a description of politics or governance in your country of interest. Instead, this paper should be analytical, in that it assesses how or why your research topic affects (or is affected by) politics and governance. 
  3. Cite at least ONE of the assigned readings in the course. Readings obviously include the Arceneux (2012) textbook and the additional readings posted on myCourses. The course reading that you cite does not have to play a central role in your paper. However, I do want to see that you are familiar with the readings we have done in class, and that you can apply one of those readings to research on politics in your country of interest.
  4. Cite at least FOUR scholarly sources. Academic sources are: peer-reviewed journals, books, and international organizations (e.g. United Nations). Non-academic sources are: newspapers, magazines, blogs, and of course, Wikipedia, which should be avoided altogether. As with all of your assignments throughout the course, you should be careful to properly cite your sources within the text of your paper, and in the “Works Cited” list at the end of your paper.
  5. Each paper must be 12 – 15 pages in length, double-spaced, one-inch margins, 10 or 12 point font. You should take care to be as well organized and clear about your research question and evidence in order to effectively articulate your argument. 

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