The most sophisticated essays will make some use of theory to answer the specific question set. For example, consider how the power of the agents you are focusing on might relate to/ be fruitfully analysed through the ‘dimensions of power’ debate (see Culley and Hughey for one example of how this can be done; you will also have an opportunity to practice doing this in seminars in Semester A). You do not have to use the ‘dimensions of power’ framework if it does not help answer your essay question, but try to find a theoretical/ conceptual approach that does help. It is advisable to use competing theories to structure an essay that lays out an argumentative analysis from the beginning. The main content will use evidence to persuade the reader of their main points, before concluding with some implications for theories of power. When researching, try to identify a mixture of literature: some that deals with theory; some which provide a general overview of the subject area; and some (a majority) which is focused directly on the question set, which will provide arguments and empirical evidence to help you make your case. Depending on the kind of arguments you want to make, some topics may benefit from including reading on the state, e.g., a critical argument relating to economic power could draw upon Marxist state theory.
What are the political causes of rising income inequality in the USA?
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