3. Research Essay Proposal
Weighting: This is a pass/fail portion of your Research Essay Assignment, but it is not optional. You will not be able to proceed with the essay until you have received a pass on this portion of the assignment.
Complete your Research Essay Proposal around the time you are doing Unit 5 (week 10 of the Suggested Study Schedule). You should be nearing completion of the essay around the time you are working on Unit 8 (weeks 1617), and submitting it in during Unit 9 (weeks 1819).
After you have chosen a topic, you must review your choice with your tutor. Submit your choice with:
o an introductory thesis statement;
o a short outline (200 words), and a bibliography which includes at least five scholarly sources (books from recognized university or academic presses, or articles from peer-reviewed journals).
o a short (one or two sentence) statement for each of your bibliographic entries, indicating why you think this would be an appropriate source for your topic.
There are three main approaches that you can take when you are formulating your topic. The first approach is to choose a particular problem or issue in the global economy (for example, the role of the World Bank, or debt and developing nations), and to explain its historical evolution, its relation to the nation-state system, and (if it is a problem) the possibilities of its resolution.
The second approach is to study an aspect of a specific national political economy that illustrates issues of salience for the study of international political economy as a whole. The essay will outline the historical developments of an issue at hand (for example, Mexico before and after the meltdown, or capitalist development in Russia or China), paying special attention to relations between domestic and international social forces and the state that have combined to create the contemporary situation. If that situation is perceived to be problematic, the essay will propose possible alternatives or solutions.
The third approach is to study a particular aspect of globalization, outlining and examining the debates for and against the most visible expressions of globalization (e.g., the North American Free Trade Agreement, the Free Trade Area of the Americas, the free market speculation in currencies, the World Trade Organization). The essay would involve analyzing the pros and cons of each position and determining whether reforms (or more radical measures) are required to address prevailing concerns.
If you have some other topic you would like to tackle, you may do so after consulting with the tutor.
A research essay requires extra reading outside of the course materials. This entails extensive use of the library and any other source of primary and secondary documents and material. The bibliography indicates sources beyond those in the course, but you should also be familiar with information-gathering techniques in the Athabasca University Library and other university and public libraries. If you do not have access to libraries in your area, the Athabasca University Library staff will undertake searches for you. See the section titled Library Services in the Student Manual.