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Professor: B. Dan Wood; Office: 2098 Allen Building; Phone: 845-1610; EMAIL: bdanwood@polisci.tamu.edu. Office Hours: 2:30-3:00 TR.

You are assigned to do an Annotated Bibliography of scholarly research on a political science research question involving government and the economy.

An important part of what political scientists do is scholarly research for the purpose of contributing to the body of knowledge in the science of politics. Such scholarly research typically revolves around a research question.

What is a research question? A research question is a question focused on one or more research concepts, and may ask about the relation between research concepts. Examples of research concepts would be "economic inequality", "economic welfare", "discrimination", etc.

Following is a list of ongoing research questions being studied by political scientists. Select ONE AND ONLY ONE research question from among the following..

1)    What are the causes and consequences of economic inequality in the U.S

2)    How does discrimination affect the U.S. economy?

3)    How do government deficits and debt affect U.S. economic welfare?

4)   How, if at all, does politics shape U.S. monetary policy?

Report your review of the scholarly literature for your chosen research question as an Annotated Bibliography.

What is an annotated bibliography? It is a listing of all of the important scholarly studies in a research area (both journal articles and books), along with a brief written summary of each work. How do you know if work is scholarly? Scholarly work appears in peer-reviewed journals or book monographs. Work that is not published in peer-reviewed outlets should not be included. At the end of this assignment is an example of what entries in an annotated bibliography should look like. Note that you are expected to review the most important literature in your selected area. How do you know what literature is important? Work that has been cited a lot by other scholars tends to be a good indicator. Use Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) to get citation counts on your articles or books. Note that this approach is not foolproof, since new work may not have been cited much.

Your annotated bibliography should begin with a clear statement of the research question you are studying from above. Following this statement, each bibliographic entry should be summarized for its importance and relevance to the research question. For each entry you should include a statement of the research design (how the author addresses the research question), hypotheses, methods, data, research finding(s), and how the findings pertain to the overarching question. Additionally, there should be a citation count from Google Scholar for each entry. Note that in order to provide all of this information you will need to have read each bibliographic entry. Note also that I want a more in-depth analysis of each entry than an abstract at the beginning of an article or book can provide.

Potential resources: One recommended source of political science research reporting articles is JSTOR, where you can search a wide variety of academic journals by author, title, or keyword. In order to access JSTOR you will need to use the library. Go to http://library.tamu.edu/ and click on databases. Note that JSTOR is limited in that the most recent work is not available. Another potential source that reports both books and articles is Google Scholar (scholar.google.com). Another potential alternative database available through the library is Ingenta; another is Ebsco. Books can be found through the library catalog, as well as Google Scholar.

Getting started: One way to proceed would be to look at a recent review article covering or related to your chosen topic. Review articles are published in sources such as the Annual Review of Political Science or the Annual Review of Sociology. Note that review articles themselves are NOT scholarly research, but reviews of scholarly research (which is what you are constructing). Do not include review articles in your annotated bibliography. Another strategy for getting started with your bibliography would be to look in the references listed at the end of recent work in your designated area, and then work your way backward through time with the references. Another strategy would be to look at some older work deemed seminal, and see who has cited it using Google Scholar. Then, work your way forward through the references in time.

Grading: The grade will be based on the completeness and accuracy of the bibliography and annotations. A general guide is that you need at least ten important and well documented references to achieve a minimal passing grade (60) on this project. To add to your grade, eleven well-document references could earn you a 66, twelve could earn you a 72, thirteen could earn you a 78, fourteen could earn you an 84, fifteen could earn you a 90, sixteen could earn you a 96, etc. However, a very large number of references does not guarantee a high grade. Sources must be directly relevant to your precise research question. All references must be well described, and the entries should be formatted as below. The task is to find and report on the most important work in your chosen area that would enable other researchers or yourself to initiate a research project on your research topic. In particular, this project should reflect an entire semesters' work and not just a last minute effort. Note that the first draft will be graded on precisely the same basis as the second draft. Accordingly, it is not intended as a "rough" draft, but a completed effort. Note also that if you are satisfied with your grade on the first revision, then it is unnecessary for you to turn in a final revision.

Here is my grading template for this project to be applied individually to each paper.

Name: Joe Schmoe
Topic: Does “going public” affect public opinion about the president or the president’s policies?
Overall Grade: C

General Comments:You need to increase the number of references. Look at the references at the end of this evlauation for where to start. Also, you need to do a better job of following the directions on the assignment page.

Rating Scale: 1=poor; 2=fair ; 3=good ; 4=excellent

Organization/Neatness: _3_

Spelling and Grammar: _3_

1) Is the question driving the bibliography clearly stated as a scientific research question? ____3_____

2) Does the literature reviewed match the research question? ____2____

3) Does the bibliography effectively cover the most important literature for the research question? ___2____

4) Do the summaries effectively summarize each book or article with respect to research design, hypotheses, methods, data, and findings? ___2____

5) Does each entry in the annotated bibliography effectively describe how the findings pertain to the overarching scientific research question? __3 __

6) Does each entry report a citation count that suggests important work? ___5___
 

I highly recommend that you get started on this project as soon as possible. Again, it is not an easy assignment for someone not used to thinking in scientific terms.

Again, the annotated bibliography will be graded in stages.  The purpose is to help you do well on the project. The first submission is due before class on Tuesday, November 7th.  The first revision counts 10 percent of the grade and will be returned with comments and suggestions for improvement.  The final revision is due on Tuesday, December 5th and is worth another 20 percent of the grade.  The total weighting for the annotated bibliography is 30 percent of the final grade. 

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Annotated Bibliography Example Entries

STATEMENT OF RESEARCH QUESTION: The research question evaluated in this annotated bibliography is “To what extent does the president "control" the federal bureaucracy? ”

EXAMPLE ENTRIES:

Wood, B. Dan. 1988. Bureaucrats, Principals, and Responsiveness in Clean Air Enforcements. American Political Science Review. 82 (March): 215-234.

The research question addressed by this article is “How do public bureaucracies respond to presidential efforts at political control?” Specifically, it evaluates the manner and extent to which the Environmental Protection Agency responded to presidential tools of administrative control during the early 1980s. According to Google Scholar, this study has been cited 516 times by other scholars since publication. Using time series intervention analysis techniques for monthly data running from 1977 through 1985, the author hypothesizes that Environmental Protection Agency enforcement outputs responded in a systematic fashion to changes in political appointments and budgets during the Reagan administration. Consistent with the hypothesis, large budget cuts in October 1981 resulted in about a 50 percent reduction in EPA inspections and abatement actions. This reduced level of enforcement lasted until March 1983 when EPA administrator Ann Gorsuch Burford was forced to resign by Congress and was subsequently replaced by William Ruckelshaus. A substantial proportion of the budget was restored later the same year. The study shows that public bureaucracies are responsive to presidential efforts at control. Presidential control of the bureaucracy occurs through formal tools that enable every president to have an impact on bureaucratic activities. From the standpoint of political science theory, the study verifies one aspect of principal-agent models of political control of bureaucracy. Specifically, political principals do effectively alter agent behavior through the use of monitoring and sanction.

Wood, B. Dan and Richard W. Waterman. 1994. Bureaucratic Dynamics: The Role of Bureaucracy in a Democracy. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

The research question addressed by this book is “How do public bureaucracies respond to efforts at political control by the president, Congress, and, to a lesser extent, the courts?” According to Google Scholar, this work has been cited 745 times by other scholars since publication. The book begins with a discussion of past research on bureaucratic responsiveness. Then, it presents a theoretical framework that guides the research. Specifically, the authors use the principal-agent model in developing testable hypotheses. Hypotheses are tested using time series data from eight different bureaucracies over the period from the mid-1970s through the late 1980s. Focusing mainly on efforts at political control during the Reagan administration, the general findings are that bureaucracies respond to the president, Congress, and courts. However, the mechanisms of political control are varied. By far the most important tool of political control is political appointments. Appointees wield control by manipulating organizational incentives and direct supervision of subordinates. Budgets are also important, as are reorganization authority and oversight by Congress and the courts. The larger implication of the research is that bureaucracies are not the “massive, lumbering entities depicted in the lay literature. Rather, they are entities that are routinely molded and shaped by changing politics and political administration. The authors conclude with some recommendations for making bureaucracies even more responsive in the future.