Political Science Topic For Research Paper

Every student who graduates from Carthage with a major in political science must complete a senior thesis project. Students work on their senior theses in POLS 400: Senior Seminar. Past theses have covered a broad range of topics:


  • Nicole Alfaro — “Analyzing the Adequacy of the Geneva Convention Concerning the Refugee Crisis”
  • Anthony Bellisario — “A Long Way Back to the Top: A Realist Approach to Russian Foreign Policy”
  • Rosemary Cisneros — “Working Across the Spectrum: Why Universalism Rationalizes Cultural Relativists Approaches to Ending Female Genital Mutilation or Cutting”
  • Wyatt Cooper — “Concealed-Carry On College Campuses: The Legal Right of Students and Faculty to Bear Arms”
  • Ashley Cross — “There are Prominent Businessmen but not Titan of Industry: Criticism of the Argument that we are in a Second Gilded Age”
  • Ryeshia Farmer — “U.S. Social Movements: Where Social and Political Arenas Overlap”
  • Benjamin Gesell — “Contemporary Federalism and the Laboratories of Democracy: How The States Have Become the Policy Innovators”
  • Michael Knaak — “Sanctions: Imprisoning the Nuclear Genie”
  • Kevin Kulling — “Mass Shootings: A Misguided Cause”
  • Maggie O’Toole — “Values of the West: Implications of Stakeholder Collaboration in Public Land Management”
  • Janina Spencer — “All Film Is Political: A Discussion of Political Nature and Its Relation to American Commercial Films”
  • Timothy Tennyson — “On Hobbes’s Treatment of Punishment In The Leviathan”
  • Odessa Torez — “When Fragile States Break: International Governmental Organizations’ Role in the Recognition of De Facto States”


  • Shannon Black — “Service-Learning in Higher Education: Putnam’s Encouragement and Fish’s Food for Thought”
  • Cody Merlin Brant — “How an Educated Society Effects the Descriptive Representation of Women – And Why That Matters”
  • Brien Drake — “Deinstitutionalization and Homelessness: A Policy Review”
  • Benjamin Fox — “Lockean Christianity: The Lockean Interpretation and Application of Christian Virtues in a Secular Society”
  • Nenad Komljenovic — “Video Games Affecting Violent Behavior: A Literature Review and Policy Design”
  • Maddie Kovarik — “Female Education and Gender Inequality in Afghanistan throughout the Decades”
  • Tom Meland — “Reexamining the Age of Consent: Sexual Freedom, Privacy, and the Attempt to Save the Children from Themselves”
  • Taylor Oanes — “The Steel Giant’s Emerald Heart: The Rise of Green Cities and the Federal Government’s Failure to Lead on Climate Change”
  • Reed Ortland — “Identification Please: A Look at Voter ID laws and Voting Opportunities”
  • Seth Petty — “The U.S. Supreme Court’s Role in Society: How Representative are they?”
  • Genevieve Siegler — “Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000: A Law Review of the Prisoner Provision”
  • Samuel Tomten — “Sovereignty or Bust: The American Indian Movement And The Continuing Fight for Self-Determination In American Indian Affairs”
  • Ryan Trower — “A Money Driven Dichotomous Union: The Relationship between Political Polarization and Economic Health”
  • Adam VanPay — “Leadership”


  • Christopher Bogusch — “Corrections in the United States: A Mental Health Case”
  • Roman Dzwinyk — “The Obligation of Western Powers to Prevent an Authoritarian Russia from Violating International Law and Threatening Domestic Progress”
  • Marissa Gray — “Addressing War Rape as a Crime Against Humanity: Feminist Perspectives and the Role of International Relations”
  • Reese Herth — “Narrowing of the Democratic Peace Theory: A Study of the Monadic and Dyadic Theories”
  • Samantha Meszaros — “The Welfare State as a Means for Gender Equality”
  • Kathryn Murphey — “Reforming Intercountry Adoption”
  • Matthew Praetorius — “The End of Endorsement”
  • Emily Prymula — “United States Sanctions: Foreign Policy Tool or Domestic Appeasement Tactic?”
  • Taylor Ridderbusch — “The Land Ethic and Wolves: The Ethics of Wolf Hunting”
  • Kendall Vega — “Competency to Stand Trial: Does the Process Protect Individuals with an Intellectual Disability?”


  • Brian Anderson — “Is Anybody Listening?: Responsiveness of Representatives in the House”
  • Eric Bernard — “Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965: A Call for Renewed Strength”
  • Kelsey Bowen — “Moving Towards Anti-Discriminatory Immigration Policy: A Comparative Study of the United States, Australia, and France”
  • Crosby Bradford — “The Role of the Justices and Popular Opinion in the United States Supreme Court”
  • Justin Cook — “Analysis of No Child Left Behind with a Proposal for the Ideal Education Legislation”
  • Matt Eilers — “The Necessity of United Nations Security Council Reform”
  • Kaylee Gleason — “The Impact of Colonial Legacy on the Status of African Women: A Comparative Analysis of British and French Colonial Institutions”
  • Diane Hahn — “Strengthening the Electorate by Improving the Role of Student Government in United States Colleges”
  • Marco Martinez — “Drone Warfare: Is the U.S. Drone Program in the Middle East Legal?”
  • Victoria Martinez — “Stripped Bare: An Examination of Pornography, Feminism and the Constitution”
  • Jason Olson — “Liquid-Fluoride Thorium Reactors and Public Policy”
  • Kelly Peterson — “Just War and the Importance of Wars of Choice and Wars of Necessity”
  • Jane Plier — “United States’ Failure in Effective Humanitarian Intervention: Implications for Syria”
  • Andrew Rosenberg — “The Wall of Separation: An American Reformation of Religion”
  • Alyssa Scott — “Reproductive Rights and Development: Effectively Using Male and Cultural Perspectives”
  • Chelsea Shields — “Strict Scrutiny and the Legitimacy of the Supreme Court”
  • Bobby Schoen — “The Federal Corporate Income tax and Its Influence on Corporate America”
  • Sarah Vanags — “#PublicSphere: An Analysis of Political and Advocacy Campaigning through Social Media”
  • Marlena Wdowiak — “Crime Shows Influence Upon Public Opinion: Misinterpretation of Law Conceptualization vs. Law in Practice”
  • Devon Wells — “What Heats Up Cools Off: A Study of U.S.-Russia Relations Past, Present and Future”


  • Andy Ademe — “Testing the Tiebout-Tullock Hypothesis: The Influence of Government Amenities on the Migration Propensity of Young Adults in the United States” 
  • Eric Ceci — “Good Christian Intentions and the Loss of American Democracy”
  • Cameron Clark — “Rising Health Care Costs and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”
  • Hunter Douglas — “A Case for Bureaucratic Control of Policy Implementation” 
  • Kelly Garcia — “PTSD: The Legacy of a Multiple Deployment Policy” 
  • Kate Haapala — “Sustainable Community Development: A Solution to Human, Indigenous and Environmental Rights Abuses in Ecuador” 
  • Tom Johnson — “An Advocacy Study for the Use of Surveillance by the Police” 
  • Rachael Kimmerling — “The Tragedy of Socratism: Striving for the Music-Practicing Socrates” 
  • Samantha Klaphake — “Approval Rating and Reelection Rates: The American Political Contradiction” 
  • Steve Kvasnicka — “Pork Barrel Politics in a Westminster Style Government Explained Through a Comparison Between Canada and Great Britain” 
  • Emily Landberg — “A Tale of Two Countries: War and Peace in the Middle East”
  • Maxx Lavin — “Federal and State Congressional Redistricting: The Motive Driving Partisan and Bipartisan Redistricting Committees”
  • Trevor Pennington — “Privacy Rights in Personal Information: A Defense of Privacy” 
  • Dan Pickerl — “Germany’s Role in the Euro Crisis” 
  • Barton Rosser — “China and the United States: Power Transition Theory and the Role of the Superpower in the 21st Century” 
  • Nathan Ruffolo — “Privacy in Preeminence” 
  • Megan Smith — “Retail Politics in the Primaries: Iowa, New Hampshire and Early Effects on the Presidential Nomination” 
  • Demetri Vincze — “Residential Segregation in the United States: Racial Zoning, City Planning, and Suburban Exclusion” 
  • Mike Zasadil — “Voter ID: The Imperfect Solution to a Nonexistent Problem”


  • Josh Baker — “Marriage Equality: Litigation versus Legislation as Durable Strategy”
  • Bo Blazavier — “Calling for Reform: How United States Correctional Policies Fail to Reduce Crime Effectively, Protect Potential Victims, and Set Offenders on Productive Paths”
  • Vincenzo Chimera — “A Machiavellian Peace”
  • Danielle Cleveland — “One Nation Divided: Ideological Polarization: Political Elite, United States Electorate and the Supreme Court”
  • Benjamin Coder — “Out-of-Area Operations and the North Atlantic Society of States: The Quest to Define Security and the Inescapable Demise of Broad-Alliance Operations”
  • Barry Doetch — “Effects of Citizens’ Polarization of the United States on Congressional Gridlock”
  • Joseph Finnemann — “Political Polarization in Interwar Germany: What Main Reason Created Radical Political Polarization? “
  • Ryan Geary — “The Right to Miranda Rights: The Constitutional Right and Its Mistaken Identity as a Procedural Ruling”
  • Matthew Holmes — “The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002: A Failure to Control Unregulated Money in Political Elections and a Substantial Burden on the First Amendment”
  • Graham Johnson — “Woodrow Wilson’ Idealism in Mexico: A Jeffersonian and Hamiltonian Dichotomy”
  • Cailin Kolk — “The Perfect Storm: Understanding the Current Crisis of Low Public Opinion in the United States”
  • Paul Kuszel — “The Necessity of Religious Institutions in a Democracy: Tocqueville’s Arguments on Religion”
  • Glen Nielsen — “The International Response to Failed States”
  • Zack (Slim) Simonini — “The Second Amendment Rights Revolution”
  • Phil Taylor — “Political Influences within the Federal Reserve System”
  • Elizabeth Wagner — “Oedipus Rex: A Play on the Perpetual Tragedy of the Political Man”


  • Paul Berauer — “Our Son of a Bitch: Jimmy Carter, Nicaragua, and American Foreign Policy”
  • Timothy Blazek — “Shakespeare’s Political Theory of Henry the IV: ‘Presume Not That I Am the Thing I Was’”
  • Matt Breuer — “Machiavelli’s II Principe and the Modernity of lo Stato”
  • Randi Coughlin — “United States Citizens Misconceptions of Islamic Traditions”
  • Ellen Klahn — “Eliminating Gender Inequalities in Education as a Development Initiative”
  • Alex Kosyla — “After Appomattox: The Supreme Court and its Effect on Segregation”
  • Zachary Peters — “The Effectiveness of Dedicated Drug Treatment Courts: The Likelihood of Expansion for these Revolutionary Policies”
  • Laura Ripple — “Guatemala: Transitioning After Conflict”
  • Maria Sarantakis — “A New Meaning to ‘Be Fruitful and Multiply’: How the United States is Replacing Adam & Eve with Adam & Steve”
  • Samantha Shackleford — “United States Foreign Assistance Towards Least Developed Countries: The Shift to Liberal Policy”
  • Thomas Stowe — “Limits of Plurality Voting: How Alternative Voting Systems can more Accurately Depict Voter Preference”
  • Jeanne Sullivan — “Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address: An Argument for the Utilization of the People’s Passions to Perpetuate the American Democracy”


  • Brittany Dayton — “The Patriarchal Dilemma: An In-Depth Look into Constraints on Female Representation in the United States”
  • Thomas Gasparo — “Buzzkill: Sustainable Development and its Application to Colony Collapse Disorder”
  • Angela Harden — “Female Politicians in the Media: An Analysis of Gender Bias within the 2008 Presidential Election”
  • Carl Hoefler — “Habeas Corpus’ Effect at Guantanamo Bay”
  • Eric Jaburek — “Hugo Chavez: Empowering the People or Damaging Democracy?”
  • Andrea Jacobsen — “The Environmental Issues of Today: Going Green or Green Washing?”
  • Glenn Knuth — “Bush Doctrine and the Origins of the Iraq War”
  • Jan Rakes — “Are China’s Educational Inequalities Increasing? The Effects of Government Policy on China’s Education System”
  • Stephen Schrieber — “The American Regime: A Reexamination of Locke and International Relations”
  • Claire Zautke — “Greasing the Wheels: An Analysis of United States Energy Policy and the U.S. Policymaking System”


  • Kyle J. Alberti — “Plato as a Parallel to the Presidency: How Attributes of the Executive Mirror the Philosopher-King in The Republic”
  • Jenna M. Cooper — “Within Powers of the President or Without Precedent? The Expansion of Executive Authority, Post-September 11th, 2001”
  • Tyler Creekmore — “Destruction of the Great Writ: The Attenuating Role Habeas Corpus Plays in the War on Terror”
  • Claire Gene Esker — “The Dynamics of a Stateless Nation: A Comparative Analysis of Tibetan Nationalism”
  • Jennifer Ewins — “Elk Grove v. Newdow: The Constitutionality of an Unbroken Exercise of History”
  • Hanna Gichard — “The Presidential Popularity Contest: An Assessment of the Dynamic Influences on Presidential Approval Ratings”
  • Russell Hansen — “The United States’ Slide toward Alexis de Tocqueville’s Vision of Democratic Despotism”
  • Kirsten M. Hedin — “State Intervention in Genocide: Self Interests Dictate Action”
  • Kyle King — “Congressional Earmarks and Distributive Policy”
  • Nicole A. Rakers — “Paradox in Paradise: Tourism and Dependency in Barbados”
  • Krystal Risen — “Cultural Preservation or Isolationism?: Negative effects of France’s Immigration Policies”
  • Brian Schmidt — “Nietzsche’s Cultural Medicine Contra the Social Contract”
  • Aaron J. Tinjum — “Limits, Decision-Making, and Sustainability: An Analysis of U.S. Energy Proposals through Environmental Perspectives”
  • Kyle Underwood — “So goes the people, So goes the Party, The Rise and Return of Libertarianism in America”


  • Amanda L. Barker — “Making the Case for Public Arts Funding”
  • Kelly Bauer — “Freedom of Information: A Case Study of Political Motivations and Policy Designs in Argentina”
  • Gordon Bothun — “Pakistan: Lost in the Democratic Transition?”
  • William Crowley — “Neoconservatism and Its Influence on the War in Iraq”
  • Sean Highsmith — “Presidential Elections, the News Media, and Democracy”
  • Frank Johnsen — “The Evolution of the Law and Order Ideology And its Enforcement among Democrats and Republicans”
  • Kristyne Keppler — “Legal Guides of Policy Preferences? Evaluating How Supreme Court Justices Decide Cases”
  • Jordan Payne — “Political Attitudes or Deferment to Precedent? Obscenity and the Supreme Court”
  • Sarah Walker — “Immigrant Assimilation: A Comparison of the United States and France”


  • Carrie S. Becker — “Money and Politics: An Age-Old Tradition”
  • Melissa Bendever — “The United States Government’s Reaction to Fidel Castro”
  • Kyle S. Blair — “Devolution of Power in the United Kingdom”
  • Emily Cahoon — “Sex Slavery in Southeast Asia: A Crisis Hindered by Inadequate Efforts”
  • Kathryn Hinterlong — “Welfare Reform: Promoting Marriage to Reduce Poverty”
  • Samantha Kraimer — “Free Press/ Fair Trial: How Fair Is It Actually?”
  • Kurt Kromm — “Confidential Sources, the Media, and Democratic Government”
  • Christopher Nikkinen — “National Crises and Presidential Influence”
  • Shannon Richmond — “The Media and its Effect on Political Socialization”
  • Christopher T. Scolire — “Congress, Professional Sports, and Steroids: Injecting the Government Into Private Organizations”
  • Scott Shapiro — “The Growing Group of Independent Moderate Voters and Its Implications”
  • Magdalene V. Spanuello — “The Effectiveness of Socialist Realism in Creating the Ideal Soviet State”


  • Chip Bishop — “Sustainable Development and Costa Rica: Future Global Leadership from the Third World”
  • Elise Catalanotte — “Constitutional Rights to Privacy and the USA PATRIOT Act”
  • Casen Griffiths — “Free Markets and Education: Promises and Problems in Milwaukee’s Voucher Program”
  • Greta Johnson — “The Struggle to Reduce the Inequalities of Income Distribution in Chile”
  • Betheny Johnson — “An Independent Judiciary in a Democracy”
  • Alyson Kuttruff — “Reclaiming Humanitarian Assistance: A Civilian Rapid Reaction Mechanism for the European Union”
  • Elizabeth Mitchell — “Government Responsibility to Diminish Urban Poverty with a Focus on the Importance of Housing”
  • Chris O’Neill — “The USA PATRIOT Act: A Threat to Civil Liberties?”
  • Erin Parker — “Political Instability and Social Fragmentation are Found Correlated among States that Use Child Soldiers”
  • Brian Pawlowski — “Machiavellian Piety: Religion and Leadership in the Discourses”
  • Kimberly Poff — “The Justification for the International Criminal Court”
  • Amber Tiemann — “Nuclear Proliferation and United States Policy Towards North Korea”
  • Jason Zapf — “The United States and Regime Change: A Case Study of Guatemala”


  • Lyndsay Boyd — United States Government and Non-Government Funding for HIV and AIDS in Kenya
  • William Del Marto — A Study of the USA Patriot Act: Empowering Law Enforcement vs. Protecting Civil Liberties
  • Matthew Dubowski — Roll Call Vote Margins and Party Conformity
  • Sean Duffy — Does the U.S. have the Responsibility to Intervene?
  • Angela Froberg — Prayer in Public Schools: Establishment v. Free Exercise
  • Karen Gottfredsen — Thomas Jefferson and Religious Freedom
  • Christine Hugon — An Exploration of Richard J. Daley and his Involvement Within the Chicago Political Machine
  • Aaron Krager — An Overview of Recycling Programs With a Focus on Recycling Possibilities For Carthage College
  • Rex Nauman — The Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Case and President George W. Bush
  • Victoria Nguyen — Environmental Regulation: the Battle to Reduce Mercury
  • Kimberly Phillips — National Missile Defense: A Necessity or Wasted Effort?
  • Dime’ Russell — Women’s Rights and the Gender Gap
  • Jonathon Strauss — Cruising Out of Control? International Regulation and Monitoring of the Cruise Travel Industry in Regard to Environmental Pollution
  • Luke Zammit — Media as an Agent of Corporate Power


  • Rocio Herrera — Censorship and Propaganda in the Soviet Union
  • Mary Miller — The Social Responsibility of 18-24 Year Olds: A Study of the Relationship of Community Service and Voting
  • Heather Menke — InnerChange Freedom Initiative Program
  • Alyson Paulson — Judicial Activism and Public Opinion


  • Thomas Bez — The 1992 Presidential Election and the Effects of the Media
  • Peggy Buehler —Women and Politics Norway, The United States, and Japan
  • Damian Dambra — Why Are They Called Controlled Substances?
  • Jonathan FioRito — A Comparative Study: The Triple Transitions of Estonia and Lithuania
  • Timothy Grailer — Attributes of Chinese Religious Persecution and the Future of the Falun Gong: A Case Study of the White Lotus Teachings and Falun Gong
  • Andrew James Kressin — Pre-emptive Counter-terrorism: The United States, Just War and the Yemen Incident
  • Peter Lenos — Of National Security: An Examination of Organization and Political Factors Contributing to our Liability to Prevent Terrorist Attacks
  • Jeff Rasch — Is Hate Speech Free Speech?
  • Erica Williams — Democracy in India
  • Nick Williams — Quality of Life in Milwaukee Suburbs


  • James I. Bernicky — The Lack of Gun Education Programs: Why have they taken so long to implement?
  • Eric Carlson — The Right to Bear Arms
  • Stephen Clubb — The Conflict Between Sovereignty and Integration
  • Paul Eiting — Democratization in Postconflict States: Impact of Consociational Elements in Kenya
  • Steven Fink — Welfare Reform Should Be Reformed
  • Jens Galla — Federal Funding for Higher Education As Policy Reaction in Times of Crisis
  • Thomas Justice Jr. — Small Arms and Conflict States, A Lethal Combination
  • Adam McBrady — United States’ Nuclear Security: Assessing the Changes that Have Been, and Should Be Made
  • Jenelle Montague — Children and Television Violence
  • Joshua Snell — Advocating Euthanasia
  • Theresa Smiley — Female Circumcision and the Application of Universalism and Cultural Relativism
  • Heather Taylor — Wisconsin Works: A Success


  • David Ahlvers — Just War Theory
  • Ryan Joseph Banta — Russia’s Triple Transition
  • Jamie Eck — Corporal Punishment: An American Tradition?
  • James F. Garner — The International Political System: Bipolar Vs. Multi-polar
  • Brian O’Connell — Capitalism in Cuba: Socialism or Death?
  • Melissa Poppenger — The Death Penalty: Do Social Characteristics Play a Role?
  • Al Spiegel — Campaign Evolution


  • Chris Gochis — Preventing the Reoccurrence of Intrastate Conflict
  • Phillip Oliver — Jury Selection: Myths and Methods
  • Phillip Oliver — The Perception of Mental Illness and How it Affects Mock Juror’s Acquittal Rate in Insanity Defense Cases
  • Michelle Rayburn — Gun Control
  • Kelly Sexton — The Politics of Public Policy: Effects of Socioeconomic Conditions on Welfare Public Policy


  • Richard Charles Kriofsky — The GI Bill: From a Public Policy Perspective
  • James Prevost — Leadership and Hussein’s Maintenance of Power
  • Amy Van Rooy — Gun Control
  • Angela Serio — An Indepth Look Into a Civil War Crisis
  • David J. Turek — Do We Share More Than Hockey and Celine Dion: An Investigation of Binational Environmental Regimes between the United States and Canada


  • Cara Bowman — Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, and Hedley Bull and International Relations Theory: What were their perspectives and how do they fit in today’s world?
  • Coreen Held — The Christian Coalition
  • Ryan Landry — Gangs in Prison
  • April Lamb — Gender Gap: Women and Men in Public Office
  • Diana M. Wells — Why Do People Vote The Way They Do?
  • Anne Wilson — Biomaterials and the Policy Process: A Comprehensive Study

What is a Political Science Research Paper?
The purpose of a research paper is answering some type of question, particularly one that requires putting forth new knowledge or solving a practical problem. Research papers present topics based on investigation and focus on substantial arguments. Therefore, a political science research paper answers questions or solves problems about political science topics. Political science is also concerned with social science, as well as political theory, practice, systems, and trends. The political science research paper should consist of an in-depth analysis of a political subject. The type of research you embark upon depends on the type of research question you need to answer, as well as what relevant information, evidence, and data are available for research.

Types of Political Science Research Topics
Good political science research topics aim at analyzing important contributions to political science, as well as policy knowledge and test topics such as historical American politics (relating to local, state, and federal events), government policy (relating to healthcare, immigration, infrastructure, etc.), comparative politics (relating to comparisons between different governments), or theoretical or empirical subjects (relating to pacifism, utopianism, libertarianism, etc.)….

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