This quadrant format provides a framework to research, organize, analyze and write a research paper of a political philosopher. The four quadrants are: biography, context, reflection and interpretation.
1. BIOGRAPHY: The biographical study emphasizes the philosopher’s life and greatly enriches the understanding of his or her work. It is a chronology of the philosopher’s development
• Full name
• Birth and death dates
• Education
• Influences
• Relationships
• Events
• What incidents have affected the philosopher’s life?
• What are the philosopher’s own views as seen in his/her statements or body of work?

2. CONTEXT: The contextual study emphasizes the philosopher’s social context; the time and place of the person. It is an approach that examines how the person’s work reflects issues of culture and society.

• What prevailing ideas and beliefs are embodied in the philosopher’s body of work?
• What religious, political, nationalistic and/or economic forces shaped the philosopher’s ideas or theories?
• What significant historical events had an effect upon his or her work?
• How does the philosopher’s body of work reflect a connection to his or her own time?

Note: You may not find all of the above listed points but try to do your best.

3. REFLECTION: The reflective quadrant explores philosophy as a tool of inquiry that involves analysis, interpretation, synthesis and narrative. Research is a thinking, reflective, stylistic, and textual process.


• What was the philosopher’s central idea or issue?
• Was it difficult for his or her fellow philosophers to accept? Why or why not?

4. INTERPRETION: The response is based upon the research and the researcher’s interpretation and conclusion.
Personal Response

• What did you discover?
• What meaning does the philosopher’s ideas have for you?
• How does his or her philosophy connect to your life?
• Does it make you more aware of politics and the need for social justice in the world?
• Do you believe that your philosopher deserves to be better known?


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