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PSCI 3500: Introduction to Peace Studies

Library research guide for PSCI 3500

Subject Guide

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Brea Henson
Willis Library, Room 080
Subjects: Political Science
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The Policy Paper Problem Statement

Requirement from your syllabus:

You should select a topic that involves an issue in peace and conflict in the world today. It could focus on specific threats to peace and how they can be resolved or on specific conflicts (or forms of conflict) and how they can be resolved or prevented from erupting in the first place.

POLICY PROBLEM STATEMENT: a statement of the issue that you plan to analyze, its major elements, and why it is important to the study of peace and conflict (one page).

Policy Problem Statement Chart Example

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Tips on writing a policy problem statement

Here are some suggestions from your Political Science Librarian for writing a problem statement:

  • Your one page problem statement should be specific, only cover what will be in your final draft, and can be supported by evidence in scholarly/peer reviewed articles.
  • Keep your audience in mind. If your policy paper is going to be read by individuals who do not know much about your topic, you may need to spend more time describing the significance of your topic and defining terms that are uncommon outside of the field. If you are not sure of your audience, assume your readers are from different backgrounds.
  • For this project, pick a topic that interests you since you have to live with it for 8 weeks! If you are not sure what you are interested in, browse your syllabus for ideas or look at news articles for background research.
    • For example, “The United Nations Security Council’s marking of the Blue Line at the Lebanese/Syrian border has not decreased violence in the region,”
  • If you have questions on the appropriateness of your topic, ask your professor, Dr. Mason.
  • If you have questions about browsing news articles for background research to decide on a topic, ask your librarian, Brea Henson!

(tips adapted from Perdue Online Writing Lab Problem Statement PowerPoint)

There are some additional great tips at for a Research Proposal Structure for Peace Studies.

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