Teaching Policy Process Analysis (3)

Probably one of the most important skills a political scientist needs in his daily working routine, is the capability of academic writing. Therefore acquiring knowledge of academic writing techniques is an absolute necessity for every political science student.

At the end of the undergraduate seminar on policy processes (click here and here for our previous blog posts), students were asked to write a term paper on an individually chosen policy process using the theories (e.g. ACF, MSF, PET) introduced in the class sessions. Since most of the students had never written an academic paper before, we decided to offer three voluntary tutoring sessions during the summer break. The idea was to provide theoretical basics of academic writing on the one hand, and on the other to accompany the individual writing process by providing practial knowledge, first hand tips, and individual tutoring.

One-on-one tutoring as a key for a succesfull first term paper in political science

Having those two goals in mind, I planned the three sessions following the steps of an ideal writing process. Hence, we started by asking basic questions such as: How to do scientific research? What are scientific sources and where to find them? Or how to find a research question that meets not only the guidelines provided by the lecturer but also my own interests within the context of public policy processes? Afterwards we focused on structuring the term papers regarding the paragraphs that need to be included (introduction, hypothesis, theory, analysis and key results). In the last tutoring session we focused on the topics of citation and other formalities, which I remembered to be a major issue to me when I started my studies.

The tutoring sessions conclude our undergraduate seminar and hence also our mini series on teaching policy process analysis featured on this blog.

Kathrin Hartmann

[photo by Helge Staff]