GEOS 4493/INST 4103 Geography of Political Violence

Guide to assist students in researching their topics for the major assignments of this class.



Working individually, you will identify eight (8) sources that will provide background information on your civil war case study. This will serve as a first attempt to familiarize yourself with the existing academic literature on your topic.


The bibliography is intended to be an initial attempt at gathering relevant sources to your individual case study. The citation style should be APA format; this should be used to maintain consistency across cited sources in the various elements of the project.

The key objective is to prepare a document that can be useful to you as your research progresses. Building on the bibliography, you will prepare and informally present a detailed summary of three of the sources for class on 11 February 2019.



The aim of the assignment is to enhance the statement of research interest you previously prepared for your topic. Specifically, you should generate a list that includes sources relevant to the topic. When searching for sources I most commonly rely on Google Scholar and Academic Search Complete. You should be able to access most articles found using your UARK log-in and password (if off campus). Those sources that are not accessible via the university library can be accessed using interlibrary loan. If you have questions about locating sources, please send me an email.

After identifying these eight sources, write a one-paragraph summary for each article/book chapter/book. This does not mean simply cutting and pasting the article’s abstract! Rather, read the source (as feasible) and identify and summarize the source’s main theme. Include sources that are relevant to your selected topic.

Technical details    Three to four pages typed. Provide a citation in APA format for each of your eight (8) sources. For each article/book chapter/book you should include a one-paragraph summary of the main argument. 

Citation format    APA apa format examples.shtml

Due date    Please submit a draft of your bibliography to my email ( by 5pm on 4 February 2019.  

Evaluation    The revised version of this assignment is worth five (5) points towards your final grade.    The final draft will be submitted to Blackboard by 5pm on 18 February 2019.  





Working individually, you will draft a 2,000-2,500-word document that synthesizes and summarizes the relevant information on your selected civil war that you have so far identified for the course. This will serve as a more formal, written attempt to familiarize yourself with your case study.


The paper should be more formally structured than the statement of research interest and annotated bibliography. A revised version of this paper will be incorporated into the final dossier submitted at the end of the semester.

Students should be prepared to summarize their case study to the class during informal presentations on March 4th and 6th.  



You should structure your paper as follows:

- An outline of the history of your selected civil war. Topics to engage with include the war’s historical origins, including any experience with colonialism, the post-colonial transition, and independence prior to the outbreak of civil war. For conflicts that are recent or ongoing, this history can extend to the start of the civil war (i.e. Syria and Libya). For conflicts that have concluded, this section should be shorter in length to accommodate a discussion of developments that have occurred since the conflict’s end. This section of the paper can range from 500 to 1,000 words in length.

- A summary of the contemporary situation relevant to your selected civil war. Questions to consider include: Who are the main actors in the conflict? How has the war evolved in recent years? What internal and/or external influences have affected this change? In terms of actors, who now plays a role in the conflict that previously was of less importance? This section should also incorporate ideas from Acemoglu and Robinson on institutional weakness where appropriate (approx. 1,500 words).

- A bibliography that includes sources relevant to your topic. This bibliography should include the eight sources you have previously identified in your revised annotated bibliography. You should augment these sources as necessary. Information derived from these sources and used in preparing your paper should be cited in-text. Please use APA style in formatting your references.

Technical details    Paper: Approx. 2,000-2,500 typewritten words that summarize your assigned case study in the style of a research paper. Include a bibliography that cites in the paper’s text the eight sources from your annotated bibliography.

Due date    Please submit your draft to my email ( by 5pm on 25 February 2019.    Following my reading and commenting on your draft, you will submit a revised version to Blackboard by 5pm on 13 March 2019.

Evaluation    The draft and revision of this assignment are each worth five points towards your final course grade.  The case study section in the final dossier is worth 10 points towards your final course grade.