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However, research in political science seldom yields immediately conclusive results.In this case, for example, although in most recent presidential elections our hypothesis holds true, President Franklin Roosevelt was reelected in 1936 despite the fact that the national unemployment rate was 17%.You may be wrestling with theories or proposing your own as you write your paper.
To achieve such clarity and concision, political scientists precisely define any terms or concepts that are important to the arguments that they make.
This precision often requires that they “operationalize” key terms or concepts.
You could test the relationship between the independent and dependent variables by collecting data on unemployment rates and the reelection of incumbent presidents and comparing the two sets of information.
If you found that in every instance that the national unemployment rate was greater than 7 percent at the time of a presidential election the incumbent lost, you would have significant support for our hypothesis.
Knowing that political scientists value objectivity may help you in making decisions about how to write your paper and what to put in it.
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Political theory is an important exception to this empirical approach.Hypotheses are statements that researchers construct for the purpose of testing whether or not a certain relationship exists between two phenomena.To see how political scientists use hypotheses, and to imagine how you might use a hypothesis to develop a thesis for your paper, consider the following example.Think about the title of your course or re-read the course description in your syllabus.You’ll find that your course covers a particular sector of the large world of “politics” and brings with it a set of topics, issues, and approaches to information that may be helpful to consider as you begin a writing assignment.Based on these revelations, they attempt to state general principles about the way the world of politics works.Given these aims, it is important for political scientists’ writing to be conceptually precise, free from bias, and well-substantiated by empirical evidence.You can learn more about writing for political theory classes in the section “Writing in Political Theory” below.Since theory-building serves as the cornerstone of the discipline, it may be useful to see how it works.Suppose that we want to know whether presidential elections are affected by economic conditions.We could formulate this question into the following hypothesis: In the research model designed to test this hypothesis, the dependent variable (the phenomenon that is affected by other variables) would be the reelection of incumbent presidents; the independent variable (the phenomenon that may have some effect on the dependent variable) would be the national unemployment rate.