Exploring the Effectiveness of International Relations: A Critical Analysis of [Article Title] Published in [Journal Name]

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This assignment asks you to summarize and evaluate a scholarly journal article on the topic of international organizations OR international relations (i.e. politics between or among countries and NOT domestic politics that simply takes place in one or more foreign countries). Examples of topics include international (not civil) war, economic sanctions, the effectiveness of select international organizations, international trade, alliances, international environmental cooperation or conflict, etc. The article must have been published since 1990 and be from one of these scholarly journals: International Studies Quarterly, International Organization, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, or Conflict Management and Peace Science; journals such as the British Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, American Journal of Political Science, and American Political Science Review also qualify, though these journals tend to have fewer international relations articles. To access the journal articles via the CU library (https://www.colorado.edu/libraries), you will need to be either on campus or use the campus VPN.

Important: Only actual articles on the topic of international relations from one of the above journals will count; research notes, data features, book reviews, etc. or articles focusing on other topics do not count. You are strongly encouraged to check whether a particular article you have found qualifies by contacting the instructor at least 10 days before the due date.

Assignment format: the report is to be 1000 words in length, with 12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1” margins, and be broken down into the below-identified sections. Note that only your own words apply to the word count. Quoted text, citations, the article title, prefacing information (e.g. your name, the class name, the turn-in date, etc.) do NOT count. Also note that while you are expected to write at least 1000 words, there is no benefit to an excessively long report.

Also note the following requirements:
Include page numbers
Provide the full citation for the article in MLA format.
In your own words, summarize the article’s main argument. Do not copy the abstract.
In your own words, explain whether the empirical evidence supports what the authors are
arguing. Are there some parts of the argument that are not supported by the evidence?
Evaluate the article’s strengths and weaknesses. What do the authors do well? What can be
improved? What other critiques can you offer?
Include “headings” over each section (Main Argument, Empirical Evidence,
Strengths and Weaknesses, etc.). For example:
Empirical Evidence
Grading criteria for the assignments includes (but is not limited to):
quality of research understanding
writing style
quality of analysis
mechanics and grammar


[Your Name] [Class Name] [Due Date]

Main Argument:

The article “Title” by [Author Name(s)], published in [Journal Name], aims to examine the [main argument of the article]. The authors argue that [summary of the main argument]. The authors use [research method/data sources] to support their argument.

Empirical Evidence:

The authors present [number] of empirical studies to support their argument. The studies show that [summary of the findings from the studies]. However, there are some parts of the argument that are not supported by the evidence. For example, [any weaknesses or limitations in the evidence].

Strengths and Weaknesses:

The article has several strengths. Firstly, [strengths of the article]. Secondly, [additional strength]. On the other hand, the article also has some weaknesses. For example, [weaknesses of the article]. Another weakness is [additional weakness].


Overall, the article provides valuable insights into [main argument of the article]. The authors present a well-supported argument and use [research method/data sources] to provide empirical evidence. However, there are also some limitations in the evidence that need to be considered. Despite these limitations, the article is a valuable contribution to the field of [field of study].

Full Citation (MLA format):

[Author Name(s)]. “Title.” [Journal Name], [Volume Number], [Issue Number], [Year of Publication], [Page Numbers].

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