PS 491-003/PS711-003 The Politics of the North American Auto Industry

IntroductionSyllabusPaper TopicsResources

Research Paper Instructions:

In lieu of the mid-term, graduate students are to complete a twenty to twenty-five page paper on a topic mutually agreed upon by student and instructor. To that end, graduate students will be expected to prepare and hand in not later than September 14th a brief paper prospectus of three-to-five pages outlining the proposed topic and offering a short list of references germane to the project. The various bodies of literature on the automobile industry are rich, voluminous, and growing. Moreover, given the proximity of the UK campus to the Georgetown/Toyota plant and some of its suppliers (e.g., Johnson Controls) and less so to Louisville/Ford plant, opportunities for doing at least modest empirical studies exist. So, the paper projects may range from a comprehensive and critical literature review of a salient topic dovetailing with the course to a research design for conducting an empirical study to an actual piece of research.

Undergraduates choosing the paper option will probably want to consider somewhat less ambitious undertakings. Still, even without leaving the UK library, students will find a wealth of material lending itself to a variety of studies. The library subscribes to a number of key auto journals--including Automotive News and Ward's Auto World--and these magazines highlight important trends and provide accurate statistics on auto production at U.S. and Canadian plants. In addition, an extensive set of books and monographs and professional journals providing original historical, political, economic, sociological, and geographical research on facets of the auto industry and production is housed in the library. A paper of 12-18 pages in length focusing on a significant topic and using the resources of the library would easily meet the instructor's expectations. Undergraduates interested in this option should meet with the instructor to discuss possible topics before preparing a 1-2 page proposal likewise due on September 13th.

Sample Topics