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Paper #2 (Research Paper) Your research assignment is to analyze a particular congressional race fro

Paper #2 (Research Paper)
Your research assignment is to analyze a particular congressional race from the 2014 cycle. Choose a race that is interesting and teaches us something about American Politics (e.g., not a 75%+ incumbent blowout). Your assignment has three parts. First, describe the context of the district and the political climate. Second, analyze the strategies of both campaigns. What were their messages? How did they use opportunities like the debates, campaign advertising, and ground operations to communicate with voters? Alternatively, where did their strategies fall short? Third, construct a theoretically driven account of why the campaign turned out the way that it did. The best papers will employ lessons from the readings and blog postings, as well as campaign and district-specific research. Furthermore, while focused on a single campaign in a single year, the best papers will clarify how their findings apply to other elections. This paper should be in the 12-14 page range.
Potential data sources:

FEC Official Election Results:
http://www.fec.gov/pubrec/fe2012/federalelections2012.shtml

The Census website is a good source of data on Congressional District demographics: http://www.census.gov/mycd/?eml=gd

Election Projection 2014 (includes poll results):
(Senate) http://www.electionprojection.com/2014-elections/2014-senate-elections.php
(House) http://www.electionprojection.com/2014-elections/2014-house-elections.php

Campaign commercials (from YouTube or elsewhere)

Local newspaper of record (as well as The New York Times/ Washington Post)

Minimal Expectations

Paper is free of grammar and spelling mistakes (e.g., has been proof-read multiple times)
-NOTE: I will enforce this more strongly than previous papers.

Paper has a thesis statement, an introduction, and a conclusion

Paper covers all three parts of the assignment in sufficient detail

Paper teaches me something about the specific candidates involved in the debate

Author employs and cites the course readings in theoretical discussion

All ideas are your own, or their source is cited using a uniform format (e.g., MLA)

“Best Paper” Characteristics (e.g., these things may indicate an excellent paper):

Paper has a unified theme- at the end, I can say, “(Your name’s) paper taught me…”

Paper incorporates the readings, blog postings, and perhaps other political science research, in a significant way

Unusually perceptive analysis of the campaigns- analysis that goes above and beyond
-For A papers, I should not ever have to ask for more detail on a point, nor should the detail be so overwhelming as to belabor the point

Paper consistently uses appropriate data from multiple sources to support claims
-Data are presented in professional-looking tables (included at the back of the paper, not counted against page limits) when necessary

Paper teaches me something about campaigns in general (e.g., it covers broader implications than one set of candidates at one place in time)
-NOTE: This will be an important criterion in separating out the strongest papers

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