Political Science Essay: Guide with steps, tips, and Outline

Last Updated: 21 July 2023

PolSci Essay Guide

As a political Science student, you will be assigned to write various papers, including essays, term papers, research papers, and dissertations. When assigned such tasks in political science, you are expected to show a higher level of critical thinking, logical reasoning, objectivity, and analytical thinking.

In most cases, political science writing tasks ask you about "how" or "why" to help analyze different political issues, problems, puzzles, or questions. You are expected to advance well-informed, researched, organized, and substantive arguments.

Unlike other subjects where you can have difficulty choosing an essay topic, there are many political science topics for essays. When making arguments, you will draw from history, philosophy, social sciences, sociology, history, law, religion, economics, tourism, and other subjects. A good political science essay is evidence-based, has well-informed analysis, and is supported with credible evidence from scholarly sources.

Does it sound complex? It should not because, in this guide, we take you through the process of writing a perfect political science essay that will score the best grades.

Political Science Essay Outline

As we advance through the process of writing a political essay, you may want to acquaint yourself with the political science essay outline. An outline is essential as it helps you conquer the fear of blank pages and writer's block. Besides, you can organize random thoughts into a successful essay with a broken-down list of ideas, sections, and points. You can then write the essay faster without wasting time.

Like a typical essay, a political science essay has three parts: the introduction, the main body, and the conclusion. Let's further discuss what goes into these three essential parts of a political science essay.

Your essay is as good as 70% done with a well-prepared outline. The writing process is made easier, and the time is cut in half because you will fill in the outline and connect ideas to finalize your political science essay.

Steps for writing a top-grade Political Science Essay

A well-written Political science essay entails intelligent, informed, and well-structured opinions. You are supposed to address specific topics and critical issues in political science spanning from American politics, global politics, international relations, global political systems, and comparative politics. When writing PolSci essays and papers, you are expected to integrate political science theory, frameworks, and concepts. You will most likely refer to theories including realism, liberalism, constructivism, domestic politics, and democratic peace theories. You will look at the political governance systems and structure nationally, regionally, and globally. Here are some steps you should consider when assigned an essay that demands so much from you as a political science essay.

1. Read the Prompt

Before the writing phase, there are specific preparations you need to make. Top on that list is to read through the assignment instructions or the essay prompt. Like a typical essay, the prompt has better instructions on structure, format, and writing the essay. It also enlightens you on the scope and the number of sources to use. When reading, be meticulous, unpack the specifics, and take notes.

Pay attention to the signal words such as compare, describe, explain, expound on, reflect, etc. these directives help you to structure your political science essay. Because you must answer all the components of a prompt or instructions, be keen on how many questions arise from them.

You will notice that some prompts are direct to the point while others have many interrelated questions that guide the scope of your essay. As you read the prompt or the instructions, ask yourself:

Break down the prompt so you can identify the components which will come in handy in the planning stage.

2. Select a topic

Given the understanding of the instructions, you need to choose a suitable political science topic to write an essay about. In many cases, the professors or TAs give a list of topics or topics of focus. However, if one is not given and you have the freedom to choose, ensure that you select a manageable topic.

Choose a topic you are interested in sharing its details for as long as someone can ask. Ensure that the topic you choose has scholarly sources you can use to support arguments as you write your political science paper.

Brainstorm for political science topic ideas. Consider newspapers, magazine articles, laws and legislations, encyclopedias of political science, and political science reference books for the best political science topics.

It is also a great place to get topics if you can find topic inspiration from the class readings and assigned readings. After choosing a topic, you can consult your professor or TA for constructive feedback.

Related Article: Political science topics.

3. Do a Preliminary Research

After selecting a topic, you need to do preliminary research to focus on understanding the aspects of the topic. Our political science research writers find this step the most interesting and critical if you want to write a political science essay or paper that scores 80% and above (A).

Instead of plunging right into writing, researching at the early stages helps you to develop arguments, organize thoughts, come up with a title, familiarize yourself with the terminologies, and identify the sources to use in your paper.

As you research, reflect on the information from various scholarly sources and how they are relevant in answering the questions in the prompt.

When your information search yields excellent and credible sources, ensure that you organize them: you can use online citation management tools such as Zotero or download them into a folder. Organize the factual and conceptual knowledge so that you write smartly.

4. Develop a thesis

After synthesizing the information available online about the topic, you need to take a stance. By now, you have an overall argument that you want your readers to understand: this is your thesis statement. The thesis statement should respond to the aspects highlighted in the assignment instructions. The thesis sustains the entire paper. A political science essay thesis statement should emphasize the conceptual argument. It should be clear, assertive, concise, arguable/debatable, and relatable to the entire essay. If you have a thesis statement this early, it can always be tweaked as you write the paper. Thus the first thesis during planning is a preliminary thesis statement. The rationale is that your ideas in an essay can change as you research and write. Overall, ensure that the thesis summarizes the gist of your political science paper.

When writing a thesis statement for your essay, ensure that it has an empirical claim. This is some truth or observation you have made, and it should also have an analytical and normative claim. 

5. Map your paper

After setting up the thesis, you need to write an outline of the essay or paper. Outlining a political science essay helps you know what to put in the essay.

Outlining helps you to structure the paper into an introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion.

Mapping the essay can take many forms unless your professor or TA requires a formal outline. You can use bulleted lists, detailed formal outlines, mind maps, or note cards. The essence is to break down the paper into parts.

An outline is a skeleton of the paper, and it helps you visualize how the essay will look when you are done writing it.

6. Write the first draft

Writing political science papers encompasses constructing arguments. You need to wisely give your opinion while at the same time using evidence to support the arguments you bring forth. When you write this way, you demonstrate that you have learned and not just crammed the concepts. This means engaging either side of a discussion and giving an honest opinion on what fits the context of your selected political science topic.

The topic sentences, arguments, and concluding sentences that form a paragraph in the essay should demonstrate research and understanding. Use the theories you learned in the course. If there are technical terms, find a way to define them without sounding too descriptive. Most of your writing should be critical or analytical to attain objective writing.

As you develop the body paragraphs, ensure that you cite the sources used. Use in-text citations and footnotes, depending on the format and citation style you have been advised to use.

Use quotes sparingly but ensure that you paraphrase, summarize, and rephrase content from other sources, then give the relevant citations. When you use quotes, format them appropriately and provide the exact page number from the scholarly source you are referencing.

The bottom line is for you to use evidence in your essay. If your earlier research never yielded good sources, research and organize the sources, and cite them as you write the paper. This process helps you to write faster and can come in handy if you have a last-minute political science essay to write.

When writing the first draft, focus on writing first and editing later. This allows you to maintain a flow of ideas without distracting yourself with perfection.

As you conclude the essay, review and restate your thesis, summarize the main arguments, and give a final statement so that your readers get some sense of closure.

7. Edit and Proofread

Writing is one thing, and polishing is entirely another process that is critical in writing papers. If you are writing a political science essay that is not so urgent, you need to take some time off your workstation or wherever you are writing the paper to develop an objective mind. Otherwise, step out for a few minutes and revise the essay if it is highly urgent. We have outlined some strategies to help you write essays fast elsewhere in our blog.

Read through the entire essay at least three times for a successful essay. The first time entails skimming through to identify the issues with the flow of ideas. The second time entails reading the essay objectively and correcting the mistakes. After correcting the mistakes, read the essay aloud to yourself to identify the errors you might have skipped. When editing the essay, focus on diction (word choice), tenses, voice, vocabulary, grammatical errors, language errors, subject-verb agreement, and run-on sentences, and ensure that the entire paper is flawless. A political science paper must demonstrate a higher level of coordination. Therefore, you must be keen on your presentation, organization, and content. If you can use an online editing and proofreading service, don't hesitate. Such services as GradeCrest have experts that can grade your essay based on the rubric, which can help you constructively edit the paper for higher grades.

Helpful Tips when writing a Political Science Essay

Our comprehensive guidelines will be incomplete if we do not include the general guidelines and tips to consider as you write your political science paper.

Parting Shot!

If you have been assigned to write political science essays for different topics, the insights we have shared here should come in handy. Your essay must demonstrate organization, critical thinking, creativity, and logical reasoning skills. As you employ concepts, frameworks, and ideas from political science, ensure that your arguments are well-presented and supported.

Related: Where to get college textbooks and articles for free.

Because writing essays is not everyone's cup of tea, you can hire a political science essay writer from our website. No matter the urgency, our writers will consistently deliver. We have some of the greatest minds in political science. Combine experience and talent, and you get a motivated team of writers always looking forward to writing their next political science essay.