Research Seminar in International Security
Credits: 4 ECTS
This course provides a broad introduction to qualitative research in the social sciences. Its main focus is on issues of research design. As such, the course will be less concerned with introducing students to specific methodological techniques (e.g., interviewing, archival work, participant observation). Rather, the course is primarily about the essential logic that underpins social scientific research. You will learn about how to come up with a research question, how to construct theories and translate them into testable hypotheses, how to think about research questions in terms of variables, how to select cases that are appropriate to answer your research question, how to move from concepts and theories to the measurement of empirical indicators, and how to make descriptive and causal inferences.
During the first eight weeks of the course, we have regular seminar classes covering the different building blocks of research design. During the last four weeks of the course, we discuss previously circulated student research proposals.
Most readings from this list are optional. However, in each of the first eight weeks you are expected to read at least two articles (or equivalent) related to your own dissertation topic. This reading is essential to building a good research design (and hence essential to most of the assignments in the course). In the last four weeks of the class, all students must come to class having read the research proposals under discussion. This is essential to your active participation in these classes.
The course builds on the methods course you have taken in the first semester in two key ways: first, it focuses on qualitative rather than quantitative research design and methods; and second, it emphasizes the application of what we are studying to your own final research projects.
- Literature review: 25%
- Full dissertation research proposal: 50%
- Discussion of another student’s dissertation proposal during the last four classes: 15%
- Class participation (based on attendance throughout the semester, and active participation during the last four classes): 10%