The empirical research paper is an opportunity to
showcase the full suite of skills students have learned in the POLS/GEOG 308 to
418 sequence. The paper will include all parts of a typical empirical research paper
including a literature review, a discussion of theories and at least two hypotheses
associated with rival causes of the dependent variable. The paper will contain a
discussion and defense of data measurement choices and variables, plus a thorough
analysis of the data using appropriate techniques learned in the 418 course. The
data analysis portion is the most important part of the paper and should include:
a. An appendix with univariate descriptive statistics, frequency tables and
graphs for each variable.
b. Tables or graphs with appropriate bivariate statistics and significance tests
for each hypothesis.
c. Appropriate controlled comparisons or multiple-regression analyses to check
whether each hypothesis holds while controlling for other independent
a. Including a check for interaction effects.
Identify research question and topic
Question: Does shared democracy deter nations from escalating their differences to armed conflict?
Topic: The Governance of countries and how it affects their likelihood to go to war.
Briefly review literature.
Find at least three articles or books that seek to explain your dependent variable.
Mintz, A., & Geva, N. (1993). Why Don’t Democracies Fight Each Other? An Experimental Study. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 37(3), 484–503.
Russett, B., & Antholis, W. (1992). Do Democracies Fight Each Other? Evidence from the Peloponnesian War. Journal of Peace Research, 29(4), 415–434.
Starr, H. (1997). Democracy and Integration: Why Democracies Don’t Fight Each Other. Journal of Peace Research, 34(2), 153–162.
Present theory and hypotheses
At least one main hypothesis.
Countries that are both democracies are less likely to go to war with each other.
Similarities in governance typically include similarities in interests of politics, economics, and culture.
At least one rival hypothesis.
Economic and social constructs and similarities deter countries from armed conflicts due to other interests not solely based on the form of governance of the country.
First ideas about what data or dataset(s) will you use to operationalize or measure your variables to test your hypotheses.
Note: you are welcome to use any of the larger datasets posted on the course website as a data source (e.g. World, States, NES, or GSS).
– Summary of the work, typically 100-200 words.
– Topic
– Literature
– Specific research questions, theory, and hypotheses
– Who or what is sampled.
– Procedures – what you did to get data and make your model.

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