International Relations Essay: All You Need to Know about It

Writing guide
Posted on February 14, 2019

Studies in International Relations involve a wide spectrum of topics that range from sociology to political science. Because of the range of topics in international relations courses, the area of study is unique and demanding. As an international relations student, your lecturer expects you to be familiar with everything including historical aspects of international relations, economics, sociology, anthropology, human rights, political theories, and current affairs. Markedly, the interdisciplinary nature of the study of international relations blends the fields of history, economics, and political science to analyze topics, such as worldwide poverty, security, human rights, globalization, and social ethics.

Professors test your familiarity of the different areas of study by assigning essays on international relations. Being an interdisciplinary field, it means that there is a wide set of guidelines followed when writing international relations essays. Lecturers may assign you the writing form of an assignment as a part of your course to examine what you know about the area of study, your ability to relate concepts, and your ability to apply theories in international relations into practical life experiences. It is important to keep the noted lecturer objectives in mind when planning and writing international relations essays because they help you understand your professor’s expectations and course grading expectations. You need to have a concrete idea of what to write about before beginning your writing journey.

This guide includes powerful international relations essay tips and will provide step-by-step tips and prompts that will help you understand the way to write your international relations essay and why some elements in the writing process are important. Besides, the guideline will help hone your essay writing skills; thus, it can be used as a guide for your other essay assignments.

Pre-Writing Tips for Your International Relations Essay

The writing process begins the minute you read your assignment and ends when you submit it for grading. Pre-writing tips are guidelines to use in the intervention stage of writing; they help you do the following:

  • Narrow the area of study possibilities down to a manageable and appropriate international relations essay topic;
  • Generate ideas relating to a topic on international relations;
  • Group ideas that belong together.

You can use a variety of prewriting techniques, but not all of them may work well for you or for a particular area of your international relations course. You can try out several prewriting techniques until you find the ones that work for you. The common prewriting techniques include:

  • This involves noting down a list of ideas and topics and then reviewing them to select those that fit your assignment objectives.
  • Brainstorming and free writing. In both free writing and brainstorming, the bottom line is that you write down everything that comes to mind about international relations issues without censoring yourself. In free writing, set some time to write what you know about specific topics in international relations. Subsequently, go back through your written notes to find the best ideas, and repeat the process until you have enough ideas for your international relations essay.
  • This involves using reporters’ questions, such as why, who, what, when, how, and where of your area of study.
  • Journal writing. This entails writing a personal reflection on what several international relations topic and concepts mean to you and why. Journal writing helps you develop ideas and topics that you can explore in your essay.

Once you have chosen a preferred prewriting technique, the next important steps entail selecting a topic for your essay, note taking, and planning for your essay outline.

  • Topic selection. Topic selection is an important aspect of the essay writing process. Three scenarios may arise in topic selection, namely your lecturer may assign a specific essay topic in international relations, you may be provided with a set of possible international relations essay topics, or you may be required to formulate a topic as long as it is within the international relations area of study. If your instructor does not provide you with an international relations essay topic, conduct preliminary research on various topics in the area of study before settling on one subject matter. Moreover, select a variety of issues you are familiar with and those with readily available information.
  • Note taking. Taking notes occurs once you are done with generating ideas for your international relations essay. The practical aspect is that the note taking process should accompany the researching process to lay down essential elements of your topic.
  • Making a plan. The plan refers to an outline that shows what type of content should be written as the essay’s introduction, body, and conclusion. Making an outline helps in structuring your ideas into concrete pieces of information that can be written for informative purposes.

Choosing a Suitable Topic for International Relations Essay: Sound Advice from Our Writers

There is no secret formula to identifying and choosing an appropriate topic in the international relations field of study. However, the following key guidelines should be considered when choosing suitable essay topics:

  • Brainstorm for possible ideas on international relations issues. In brainstorming, try to explore what interests you in international relations;
  • Research for ideas on possible topics in books or in articles written by scholars whose work has interested you. Explore if these authors make any suggestions about areas that could be developed into essay topics in the international relations field of study;
  • Think of two or more authors who have disagreed with each other in print about an issue in international relations and determine if you could write an essay that weighs up their opposing arguments;
  • Be realistic when exploring and choosing a particular essay topic. You should only consider topics with readily available sources. Coming up with ideas and topics that fascinate you only to find that all the resources you need are unavailable can be demotivating;
  • Ensure that you do not choose a topic that is too specific. Obscure topics make finding research materials difficult. Besides, a specialist type of research would be inappropriate for an essay;
  • Select a topic that is appropriate to the length of your essay. Students are often tempted to pick topics that are too broad to be adequately covered. While broad topics lead to overgeneralization, narrow topics lead to close observation;
  • Avoid topics that will tempt you to summarize rather than discuss or analyze concepts in international relations unless your professor requires a summary-type of an essay;
  • Choose a topic that interests you to motivate you in research and compile the actual essay paper. Chances are that when an essay topic is interesting to you, the outcome of the essay will be equally interesting to the readers;
  • Once you have picked and settled on a certain topic, do not be afraid to change it if it is not working out as expected.

Possible topics for your international relations essay include:

  • Compare and Contrast Atlantic and Pacific Commercial Business
  • Discuss the Validity of the Cold War after the Collapse of the USSR
  • Discuss the New Principles of the U.S. Foreign Policy
  • How did the Cold War end? Did Any of the Sides Win?
  • Discuss the United Nations and Its Peacekeeping Agenda

Writing an Effective Title for Your International Relations Essay

A common issue evident among students and seasoned writers is omitting or underusing a useful tool in their writing process, namely an essay title. When stuck, it is common for students to give up on generating a title for an essay or they merely label the essays by assignment numbers and sequences. The title of an essay helps in preparing readers to understand and believe the paper that is to follow. The first aspect in drafting an essay title should involve outlining the functions of the title. A good essay title:

  • predicts contents of the essay;
  • catches the reader’s interest;
  • reflects the tone of your piece of writing;
  • presents keywords that define the essay and make it easily identifiable during searches.

When crafting the essay title, you need to think of title writing as a process and allow yourself to stretch your thinking during that process. Your title should have a hook that attracts the readers to your essay. This hook can be a collection of keywords from your essay or a quote that introduces your topic or the tone of the essay. Moreover, the title should have one or two key terms that provide the reader with a sense of the content and the angle of your essay. In other words, the title you choose for your essay should provide the reader with an overall overview of the essay even before the essay is read in depth. Despite the recommended short length, the title should summarize the entire essay in a few words.

Appropriate Structure for Your International Relations Essay

An appropriate outline of the international relations essay should have at least an introduction, main body, and a conclusion. The outline should appear as indicated below:

Introduction. The introduction should occupy approximately 10% of the entire essay and it should explain how your essay interprets the title, issues it explores, and the conclusions that you draw from the essay discussion. The introduction should make the target reader interested in your essay, should tell what you are writing about, and must explain why the essay topic is relevant or why you have written the essay. An important aspect of the introduction part of the essay involves getting the readers interested in your work. Creating interest in a reader is what differentiates a B grade essay from an A grade essay. Therefore, choose your words carefully and meet all the introduction requirements. In this case, provide:

  • an overview of the essay;
  • objectives of the essay;
  • the essays significance;
  • a purpose statement;
  • a thesis statement.

Body. The main body of the essay should take up 80% of the essay content because it forms the main part of the essay. The content of the essay, at this point, is presented in paragraphs where each paragraph provides a unique theme or element of the essay. In this regard, you should ensure your paragraphs are thematic and based on major arguments. Depending on the ideas and themes you intend to explore in your essay, the number of paragraphs may vary from three to four. However, a one-page essay may only require one or two paragraphs for the body section of the essay. Each paragraph of the essay should develop and explore the major essay arguments and must have a topic sentence that presents your claims as well as evidence that supports claims made in each topic sentence.

You should consider the following elements when writing the body of your essay in international relations:

  • The major discussion points in each paragraph;
  • The arguments and evidence that support the topic sentence in each paragraph;
  • The practicality of the topic sentence;
  • The paragraphs’ ability to link the thesis statement, essay topic, and essay title.

If the body has three main paragraphs, the first paragraph should focus on the strongest argument in the essay. The topic for this paragraph should be stated within the first several sentences (the topic sentence) and appropriate content should be used to support the topic sentence. You should then provide a clear transition to your next paragraph. The second paragraph should contain the second most significant point of your essay. Similar to the previous paragraph, ensure you provide a topic sentence and supporting evidence. The weakest argument should be presented in the last paragraph and should tie into the essay’s thesis.

Conclusion. Similar to the introduction, the last part of the international relations essay should slightly mirror the introduction and summarize the arguments you made in your previous paragraphs. Moreover, the conclusion should echo your thesis statement and provide a description of how you proved your thesis. You should be careful not to introduce new points and arguments in the conclusion section. However, you can provide an action plan where possible.

The Last bit Not Least: Post-Writing Tips

Proofreading and referencing constitute the most essential post writing process. These tips ensure your essay is appropriate and capable of helping you attain a high grade. Proofreading refers to the process of reviewing your essay to ensure it is free of grammar, sentence structure, and tense mistakes. It also involves reviewing the essay content to ensure it is coherent.

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