Research Papers for GPS 22

Research Papers for GPS 220, Fall 2020

Your research paper will be a country ‘case study.’  For this type of project you first choose a state from the list below.  Notify me of your choice by email or in class by 27 October.   If you haven’t picked one by then I will assign one to you.  Your completed paper should include the following information:

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  • Size and structure of the population, major ethnic, linguistic, or religious divisions within the country (use the slides I always show of the countries we study as a guide).
  • Major historical events and personalities that have shaped the current society, economy, and/or government structure, or otherwise influenced political developments in the country. Just the major ones, please.  I don’t want a complete history of the country.
  • Political culture. You will learn more about what I expect to see in this section as we discuss ‘political culture’ in class.  Only include information you find particularly interesting or relevant to the political system the country uses.
  • Classify the regime type, based on what you’ve learned in class about the different kinds of regimes. Explain whether the regime is a democratic one or an authoritarian one, or something in between.  If it’s an authoritarian regime, explain what kind it is.  Explain clearly why you think the regime should be thus classified.
  • Structure of government. Describe the general structure and organization of the government.  Identify the key state institutions such as executive and bureaucratic offices, legislative bodies, high courts, etc.  State what the powers and duties are of these institutions, and how they operate (or fail to operate, as the case may be).  For example, if you were doing your country study on the United States you would describe it as a federal republic with three co-equal branches of government at the federal level.  You would BRIEFLY explain the division of powers between the federal and state governments, and describe the powers and dutiesof each of the three branches of the federal government.  Within each branch you would identify the key offices and agencies (executive branch would include the office of the president, the cabinet departments and other agencies of the bureaucracy; the legislative branch consists of the House and the Senate, etc.) and explain what they do, and how they do it.  You would also emphasize the role of checks and balances.
  • Electoral system, if applicable. Describe the type of electoral system (plurality, majority requirement with runoff, proportional) used in the country.
  • Role of political parties. Identify the major political parties, if any, and describe their ideologies.


  • The economic system. Describe the state of the economy in the country, including GDP, GDP per capita, general stage of development, pattern of income distribution (use the Gini Index), major imports and exports, and major trading partners.
  • The major political issues the government of the country is currently dealing with.

As I read and evaluate your papersI will be very interested in seeing how well you have integrated the concepts we have studied in the course into your paper.  Bear that in mind as you write it; the degree to which your paper reflects understanding of these concepts will have a direct bearing on your grade.

Your paper must be typed in Word (no other word processing program will do; it must be Word), double-spaced, 12 font exactly.  There is no set requirement for length, though most papers will come in between eight and ten pages(no more!).  Given the number of papers I will be reading and grading and the limited time I have I ask that you not exceed ten pages without prior authorization.

The information in the paper must cover the topics described above.  Charts and diagrams are encouraged if they support the points you are making, but will not count as pages towards the eight to ten I expect (add them to the end as appendices).  The due date is 1 December.

You do not have to cite your sources for every fact in the body of the paper, but you must include a list of sources you consulted as an appendix.

Your final product must be turned in via the Turnitin link on Canvas if I can get one.  Otherwise you will simply email me a copy by midnight of the due date.  I will read, grade, and comment on your paper by return email before the end of the semester.  Due to the number of papers and the time available it will not be possible for you to ‘redo’ a poorly-written or mistake-filled paper, so please make every effort to ‘get it right’ the first time.  I strongly suggest you have others read your paper to help you with the editing before you turn it in.

Eligible Countries for Study:

Hungary                                  South Korea                             The Philippines

Republic of China (Taiwan)    Czech Republic                        Norway

Sweden                                    Denmark                                 Netherlands

Switzerland                             Finland                                                Greece

Iceland                                                Zimbabwe                               Israel

Peru                                         Spain                                       Italy

Uruguay                                  New Zealand                           Australia

Ireland                                     Poland                                     Vietnam

Portugal                                  Argentina                                Chile

Venezuela                               Colombia                                 Moroco

Indonesia                                 Ghana                                      Tanzania

Pakistan                                   Canada

Useful Sources:

CIA World Fact Book ( is a good source for basic facts and figures. is also good place to start. publishes studies about political conditions in most countries.

CNN, BBC, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal publish generally reliable reports on current political developments in many countries.  Check out their websites and use the search function to see if they have anything recent on your country. publishes news, analysis, and opinion about political events around the world, including country-specific news streams (scroll down a bit and look on the right side of the page for a blue bar labeled “country streams” in white; hit the “select” button and click on your country) has economic data on most countries and detailed reports on some.



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