The vast majority of IPE
writing is explanatory, analytical, and synthetic. Three of the most common types of papers you will be asked to write for IPE
are research papers, position papers, and essays analyzing course readings. Research papers require you to find outside sources to formulate and support your argument. Position papers typically include an explanatory portion, as if you were writing a report for your employer about your topic, and an analytical section where you will use IPE
theories to evaluate the current state of your topic. In other essays you will be asked an analytical question about readings you have done in class and expected to summarize the authors’ complex arguments, identify points of agreement and disagreement among authors, and incorporate relevant passages from the readings into your writing that elaborate (rather than simply re-state) your point; these essays are an opportunity to deepen and showcase your understanding of the course readings. You may also be asked to write case studies, outlining the development of a particular issue, international relationship, or country over time; policy briefs, summarizing a particular issue, its policy options, and your recommendations; and reflections, where you’ll describe your own personal standpoint on an issue. One of the common writing challenges in these genres is covering enough breadth to develop sufficient depth on your topic. As you write, work to integrate the political, social, cultural, and economic perspectives of your topic and explain in detail how they relate to one another. Also, don’t merely summarize readings, but instead put the authors in conversation with one another; look at the points that authors agree or disagree on and come up with a unique angle on how they speak to each other (for example, how might one author expand upon an idea developed by an earlier author?).