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The Written Design
The written design should be composed in a 12-point font with 1.5 line spacing, 1-inch margins, and be a maximum of ten numbered pages in length. APSA format.
The written design will emulate the first sections of an academic journal article in political science, but with
only a brief theoretical discussion and naturally excluding any discussion of empirical results. It must include
the following components as sub-headings:
– Introduction. The introduction should succinctly state the research question your design addresses
and why it is important or what puzzle motivates it. It should also briefly outline the design itself, the
method and data. Finally, use the introduction to tell the reader what you plan to do with the design:
whether you plan to develop it into a research paper or whether it is more exploratory.
– Previous Literature. This section is very important. You cannot assume that the reader knows
anything about the research question your design proposes to answer. Here, you need to introduce
the reader to the broader political science literature within which your research question is located;
show why the narrower topic you address is important within that literature; and identify a gap which
the study you propose would fill. It is important to be specific in this last point: identify the most
recent and prominent papers which are closest to addressing your research question, or which have
addressed the question in a different way. Explain very clearly how your research design is different,
and will improve upon or complement those contributions.
– Research Question. Here, you need to explicitly state the research question/puzzle and hypothesis
that you will test in your design. This does not mean that you need to have a fully-fledged theoretical
discussion; a relatively short descriiption of the theoretical intuition or puzzle behind the hypothesis
will suffice. You may have to discuss the specificities of the cases you examine, if these are relevant
to the design. However, the question/hypothesis should not simply be stated without any
explanation.
– Method. Explain and justify the research method you propose to use to test your hypothesis. What qualitative and quantize methods are you using? What is your hypothesis? Refer to the relevant readings to explain the assumptions underlying the method, its strengths and weaknesses. If you plan
to run a regression, specify the regression equation here. Tell the reader whether your research design
will allow you to make causal claims and how; if it does not, explain why. Explain explicitly the logic
of applying this specific design to your specific research hypothesis. Tell the reader why you have
chosen to use this method rather than others which could be more robust or have been used by
other researchers to answer your question.
– Data & Measurement. Define the independent and dependent variables in your design. Discuss the
process of case selection or sampling, how the relevant variables are measured and what data sources
you propose to use. Justify your choices in measurement, discussing how your measures relate to the
relevant underlying concepts and alternative measures if relevant. Discuss which control variables
you will use and if you are unable to control for relevant factors, explain why. If preliminary data are
available, present them in an informative way.
– Conclusion. Use the conclusion to sum up your research design and its strengths and weaknesses.
You could also make some comments on areas which still need to be finalized or expanded upon,
and on the general feasibility of carrying out your design.
The draft of the written design must include all sections. However, you must clearly explain the research design.
My research design is meant to be centered around Putin’s approval ratings as my dependent variable (I looked on Statistics.com and saw rating from the Levada Center that can be used). Specifically, I want to focus on the year 2022 and how the impact of economic sanction (Western Disapproval) impacted Putin’s approval ratings locally and potentially internationally amongst his few allies.

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