For the final paper you may write on any topic you choose, subject to my approval. The paper must illustrate, test or extend one or more of the theories about candidates, parties, voters, elected officials, contributors, etc., considered in the course readings or lectures. Your paper should in some way feature your original analysis of some kind of data. This may be anything from a statistical analysis to an informal case study based on personal interviews or archival research. During the course we will encounter several data sets I will encourage you to consider using for your paper (especially National Election Studies survey data), but those will be recommendations not requirements. I encourage you to talk to me either in person or via email to discuss ideas for the paper.
To get approval for a topic, you must submit a 2-3 page proposal for the paper. The proposal should summarize the argument you expect to make (e.g., what is the principal hypothesis), identify pertinent literature and list the data you think you will need to build evidence for your argument. The proposal should include references to at least four scholarly works (journal articles or books) that bear on your topic. The proposal is due in hard copy in class on Tuesday, November 14. I'll also accept it earlier, by email (if you send it by email, make sure you get confirmation from me that I received it). Submitting at least a rough idea somewhat earlier may be better for you.
If the version of the proposal you submit on November 14 is not acceptable, I'll ask you to revise it until it is acceptable. If you don't produce an acceptable proposal by the last class meeting (November 30), you will receive a failing grade for the whole final paper assignment.
The paper itself should run about 15 pages (double-spaced) and is due in hard copy at my office by 4:30pm Friday, December 8. Both the proposal and the paper should use normal scholarly apparatus for footnotes, citations, bibliography and any tables or figures.