Link to IPE

The topic chosen and theories discussed should be appropriate for IPE analysis. The link to an IPE topical area should be explicitly established if not completely obvious.

Central question

The thesis paper should clearly identify a central question. The best questions are specific rather than general, and produce an answer that is multifaceted (i.e., not simply “yes” or “no”) and open to disagreement. A good question is one that produces answers with which reasonable scholars can disagree.

Thesis statement

The thesis statement is not a description of what the thesis studies, but rather a statement of what you will argue in the thesis. Refrain from “should” statements until the problem is explained and supported by evidence. The thesis statement is essentially the answer to your central question.

Quality of argument and evidence

The thesis must take a specific stand that is well supported by argument, evidence, and data. Evidence should be informed by the previous work of others.

The best thesis papers strive to incorporate an interdisciplinary element, drawing on political, economic, and sociological data, with attention to global interactions. Case studies should be used analytically, not descriptively, providing evidence in support of the argument.

Alternative viewpoints

The best thesis papers both make the positive case for their point of view and also anticipate and discuss alternative viewpoints and potential criticisms and counter-arguments.


The main theory or theories discussed should be appropriate to the central question under consideration. That is, the theory should provide a general explanation of some significant aspect of an IPE problem and raise questions for further investigation. Relevant IPE or issue-specific theories used to explain the problem or assist in your research should be discussed in a theory section, or, intermittently throughout the paper.

Literature review

The thesis paper should include a summary of previous research on the issue or problem. The best thesis papers demonstrate mastery of prior research and present arguments and evidence that are informed by previous work.


The body of the paper should have a clear organization, making good use of headings to communicate to the reader the outline of the paper. The organization of the paper should be determined by the thesis and the need to argue it effectively. Information that is unrelated to the thesis should not appear in the paper.


The introduction should efficiently introduce the question that the paper will address, establish the context of the analysis, and present the thesis statement.


The conclusion should reiterate the thesis argument, summarize the evidence presented to support the thesis, discuss the implications of this work, and consider future research topics that the thesis suggests.


The thesis paper should be well written, free of spelling and grammar errors, and feature complete sentences and well-crafted paragraphs.

Paper format

The thesis paper should closely follow the guidelines for the format of the paper (i.e., length, font-size, title page, etc.), including guidelines for footnotes and bibliography (see syllabus).