The PBA for Building Democracy is a research paper and presentation on a topic related to the course.

I would encourage you to choose to either:
-investigate the process of democratization in one country after c. 1980 or
-assess the quality of democracy in a country after c. 1980
You can choose either Chile or South Africa, and delve further into an issue that we touch on in class.
The PBA should not be about the United States.  If you want to investigate a timeframe before 1980, you can do so if your topic directly addresses the themes of the class.

There is an interview component to the 12th grade PBA as well.  You will need to interview an expert in the topic or someone who has first hand knowledge of the issues or events.  We will work on developing interview questions and process in class.

The PBA is assessed using the Consortium rubric for research papers, found here.


Requirements for research and formatting:

  • The paper must be 2500 to 4000 words long.
  • The paper must include a title page, page numbers, section headings, and a works cited list.
  • The works cited list must start on a separate page.
  • Citations and the bibliography must use Chicago style - a guide to Chicago style can be found here.
  • The paper must use at least three book sources and three journal articles.  I can help you identify relevant journals for your particular topics, but important general journals are the Journal of Democracy, and the Journal of Politics.  This is a link to a webpage that lists many major journals for the issues we are discussing.  You can access these journals through JSTOR and through ProQuest and Academic Search Premier through the New York Public Library website.
  • The paper must use data in some way.  This can include public opinion surveys where they are available (Latinobarometro for Latin America and Afrobarometer for Africa are good sources), ratings through sources like Freedom House and Democracy Barometer, and data from the United Nations.  You are welcome to search for other such sources, directly relevant to the country.
  • You are allowed to use sources that are not in English; however, you must be fluent enough in the language to make your own translations of the quotes that you use.  If you are not fluent enough to do this, then you must stick to the sources available in English.
  • You are encouraged, but not required, to use other online sources - newspaper or magazine articles, speeches, etc that are posted online.
  • The interview that you complete must be used as a source in the paper.  The transcript for the interview must include the name, title,  location and contact information for the person being interviewed.  The transcript must also indicate how the interview was conducted (in person, phone etc), when it was conducted, and what type of record was kept (ie what device was used to make the recording).


  1. Due Monday, November 6: Initial proposal (which includes at least one possible research question, an explanation of why the question is of interest and relevance, a list of 10 possible sources including possible sources from all of the required categories, and two potential interviewees)
  2. Due Thursday, November 16: potential interview questions
  3. By Thursday, November 30: Begin reaching out to potential interviewees
  4. Due Thursday, December 14, 4pm: Final proposal (final research question, thesis, general outline, and bibliography of sources you intend to use, interview questions)
  5. Due Thursday, December 21, 4pm: First sections submitted to
  6. Due Thursday, January 11, 4pm: Final version submitted to