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    Hello,
    how do I come up with one? Just read the news and do something I could be interested in or do research about something more 'useful'/'critical' but which I am not intersted in?

    value over interest?
    I hope that makes sense.
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    Which subject area is this?
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    (Original post by hobnob)
    Which subject area is this?
    international relations
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    (Original post by itzme)
    international relations
    You cannot help what you are interested in, but there is no reason why what you are interested in should not be critical or practical, so to speak. In terms of international relations, certain issues are more likely to be of short or medium-term importance such as (1) global warming, (2) dwindling natural resources, and (3) nuclear disarmament. The political system of Belarus is an important issue for its neighbours, and east-west politics generally, but it is not something most will care about in the near future unless attention is drawn to it; the 2008 South Ossetia war is another Slavic example in the same vein.

    But for the three examples above you might consider:

    (1) – Can it be effectively tackled? Can a universal system be deployed? How would a partial system be implemented in the context of developing countries such as China and India?
    (2) – Are resources dwindling, or is it about market control? Are we resource dependent? Are particular countries overemphasising their political importance, because of resource control (i.e. the middle east)? Are there any positives to dwindling natural resources, or increased market control (i.e. the economic development of the middle east and Russia [notice how both were just awarded the World Cup, for example])?
    (3) – Is this an international issue? How can this be an international issue when only a handful of countries possess nuclear weapons? How can international relations function effectively with such disparate differences in defence budgets? What would happen if everyone disarmed?

    This is not my area of expertise so I apologise if I have just butchered it; my understanding of the subject is that it is a interdisciplinary area with a focus on politics.
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    (Original post by evantej)
    You cannot help what you are interested in, but there is no reason why what you are interested in should not be critical or practical, so to speak. In terms of international relations, certain issues are more likely to be of short or medium-term importance such as (1) global warming, (2) dwindling natural resources, and (3) nuclear disarmament. The political system of Belarus is an important issue for its neighbours, and east-west politics generally, but it is not something most will care about in the near future unless attention is drawn to it; the 2008 South Ossetia war is another Slavic example in the same vein.

    But for the three examples above you might consider:

    (1) – Can it be effectively tackled? Can a universal system be deployed? How would a partial system be implemented in the context of developing countries such as China and India?
    (2) – Are resources dwindling, or is it about market control? Are we resource dependent? Are particular countries overemphasising their political importance, because of resource control (i.e. the middle east)? Are there any positives to dwindling natural resources, or increased market control (i.e. the economic development of the middle east and Russia [notice how both were just awarded the World Cup, for example])?
    (3) – Is this an international issue? How can this be an international issue when only a handful of countries possess nuclear weapons? How can international relations function effectively with such disparate differences in defence budgets? What would happen if everyone disarmed?

    This is not my area of expertise so I apologise if I have just butchered it; my understanding of the subject is that it is a interdisciplinary area with a focus on politics.
    Well for someone who is not studying the subject, you understand it pretty well


    I was thinking that doing a research project on emerging economies, Yemen... would be more interesting to admission tutors than researching about say, global warming which you mentioned.

    but then the problem is that some countries/topics are important now, but maybe not in a few years'time
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    (Original post by itzme)
    Well for someone who is not studying the subject, you understand it pretty well

    I was thinking that doing a research project on emerging economies, Yemen... would be more interesting to admission tutors than researching about say, global warming which you mentioned.

    but then the problem is that some countries/topics are important now, but maybe not in a few years'time
    I suppose like most things it is how you can frame the topic to make it look of more immediate importance than it probably has.

    If you consider Yemen's geography, population and size, I think most people would suggest that it is never going to become an important country in the normal sense; though its geographical position suggests that if it could trade it would do well with both developing and existing nations as it halfway between Europe, Asia and close to the economically important bits of Africa. In this sense, you are going to struggle to work exclusively on this with someone who is not a specialist so you might have to compromise a bit with your topic.

    From what I have just read about Yemen, it looks a bit of a non-starter (if I am being brutal). If you are interested in a short-term study then you could look at what will happen when Yemen's oil reserves run out in 2017; can their political system remain in tact without a stable financial footing? For a long-term study you could do a comparative study of the economies of post-British states on the Arabian Peninsula; compare Yemen to Oman, Qatar and UAE etc., etc... It is all well and good suggesting that the West is dependent on gas and oil etc., but are these states developing other means of stabilising their economies? I would suggest that they are just as resource reliant as the West are. Having looked at the Wikipedia page for Oman, it might be very interesting to compare Oman and Yemen as the former seems to have done a lot better than the latter, and of course they are neighbours so that invites a comparative study in itself. The British thing acts merely as a historical framework that ties things together, but it invites questions itself - do any of these countries have a developed relationship with the UK and is there a link between this and the country's prospects (i.e. Saudi Arabia, though not in the same historical group, would be a good example).

    How practical these suggestions are is only you can decide as I do not really know anything about these regions, and this is obviously one of your interests.
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    You should choose something that you are interested in and go with that as you will have to spend a long time studying it. No point doing something that you're not interested in (although the proposal that you apply with may not be the same as what you actually end up writing). You should be looking for a university that has a supervisor who may also be interested in that area. You will need to find the academic side of the issue too, and frame it in an academic way.

    Most tutors aren't looking for projects on fashionable topics such as global warming, but are interested in their subject area. A tutor who specialises in the Middle East will remain focused on the Middle East.

    I think that Yemen is probably a very good, and quite under-researched area. It's becoming increasingly important in a global sense. There are a whole range of topics you could cover I would think.
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    (Original post by Little Jules)
    You should choose something that you are interested in and go with that as you will have to spend a long time studying it. No point doing something that you're not interested in (although the proposal that you apply with may not be the same as what you actually end up writing). You should be looking for a university that has a supervisor who may also be interested in that area. You will need to find the academic side of the issue too, and frame it in an academic way.

    Most tutors aren't looking for projects on fashionable topics such as global warming, but are interested in their subject area. A tutor who specialises in the Middle East will remain focused on the Middle East.

    I think that Yemen is probably a very good, and quite under-researched area. It's becoming increasingly important in a global sense. There are a whole range of topics you could cover I would think.
    Since international relations is your area of specialism, perhaps you could be more specific and suggest a few topics that spring to mind even if your interests are not in the Middle East itself?
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    In Yemen I think you could look at a whole range of things depending on what your interests are. So you could look at the impact of the global focus on domestic policy and relate that to IR theory. Alternatively, you could look at Yemen in terms of state borders and globalisation theories. If your interests lie with economics, then you might want to look at Yemen within global markets - say in terms of food, or people smuggling or arms.

    At Oxford there was quite a strong emphasis on IR theory, and we all had to talk a lot about relating our ideas to theory and research methods. Obviously departments are all different, but I'd think very carefully about relating your topic to the broader discipline.
 
 
 
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