• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site
Master 2019/2020

Methodology for Sociopolitical Research in East Asia

Type: Compulsory course (Business and Politics in Modern Asia)
Area of studies: Asian and African Studies
When: 1 year, 1-3 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: Камалов Эмиль Альфредович, Sergei Akopov
Master’s programme: Business and Politics in Modern Asia
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6
Contact hours: 64

Course Syllabus


In this course we approach the methodological premises of research on East Asia, which often remain implicit yet invite direct inquiry. The idea of the course is an analysis of both political and economic aspects of Asia through developing inductive research design and thorough qualitative research study. The course is based on the interactive principle and qualitative research methods; the students are encouraged to participate in the discussions over the key problems that national and transnational actors in Asia. The assessment of the course includes a creative research portfolio and its oral presentation in the class.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To provide a brief introduction to the methodology of sociopolitical research, to acquaint students with statistical methods and terminology, and to teach them how to implement these methods using R programming language.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • to speak the language of data fluently
  • to understand by yourself and explain to others such words as ”variable”, ”distribution”, ”regression”, ”p-value”, etc.
  • to design a quantitative political study
  • to choose statistical methods appropriate to your substantive research problem
  • to use R programming language for statistical computations
  • Know key concepts and approaches
  • Gain necessary skills for academic thesis preparation, proposal, research, and presentation.
  • Examine the qualitative research methods in social science including political science and legal research.
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Design Types, Data Types, and Data Summarization
    1.1. Prospective cohort studies, case/control studies, cross-sectional studies1.2. Quantitative research design1.3. Continuous and nominal-categorical data, ordered data, summary statistics, visualization1.4. Try R, R as calculator, basic R functions, creation of the data frame
  • Basic Statistical Concepts
    2.1. Population vs. Sample 2.2. Random Sample 2.3. Probability, probability distributions 2.4. Work with R functions: pnorm, tnorm, density, etc.
  • Exploratory Data Analysis and Visualization
    3.1. Work with R: set working directory, read your data, data types in R 3.2. Data transformation, missing values, outliers 3.3. Visualization: histograms, barplots, boxplots
  • Inference and Hypothesis Testing
    4.1. Normal distribution, central limit theorem 4.2. Null hypothesis, alternative hypothesis 4.3. Type I error, type II error, P-value 4.4. Confidence intervals
  • Simple Regression Methods
    5.1. Linear regression assumptions 5.2. OLS regression, regression coefficients, significance level alfa 5.3. OLS regression example in R: syntax and interpretation, visualization of the result
  • Confounding and Effect Modification (Interaction)
    6.1. Define and identify confounding 6.2. Crude and adjusted measures 6.3. An example of effect modification 6.4. Define and identify interaction effect 6.5. An example of interaction effect
  • Multiple Regression Methods
    7.1. Diagnostic plots 7.2. Comparing model 7.3. Variable selection 7.4. Tools for summarizing and visualizing regression models
  • How to formulate a question?
    Lecture 1. The Philosophy and Principles of Research Design Reading: Pierce R. Research Methods in Politics, Chapter 3. The Philosophy and Principles of Research. London: SAGE Publications 2008. Ltd. Pp.: 22-38. Seminar 1. How to Formulate a Question. This session will tackle the daunting hurdle of starting your research project. Its aim is to enable you to make a sure, speedy and successful start to your research. It will offer help and guidance in relation to the most rudimentary (but difficult) aspects of starting a research project, by addressing questions such as - How to formulate your research questions? Where to start? How to deal with controversies in the literature? Reading: Recommended Reading: R Murray How to Write a Thesis (Open University Press McGraw Hill Education) http://www.mheducation.co.uk/9780335262069-emea-how-to-write-a-thesis The Oxford Learning Institute has 3 interesting pages of advice and suggested reading on Life as a doctoral student at http://supervision.learning.ox.ac.uk/students Many other universities also post tips, see eg https://www.grad.ubc.ca/current-students/graduate-pathways-success/getting-started-your-thesis-ordissertation https://writingcenter.fas.harvard.edu/pages/developing-thesis Possibly useful, if very brief, are newspaper ‘how to’ articles, eg https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/21/how-to-plan-your-dissertation https://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/25/how-to-write-your-dissertation
  • What is my discipline? What is my area of study? How to choose cases and methods?
    Lecture 2. Studying Asia: Comparative Analysis of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods Reading: Pierce R. Research Methods in Politics. Chapter 4. Qualitative Versus Quantitative Methods: A Relevant Argument? London: SAGE Publications 2008. Pp: 40-51 Seminar 2. What is my discipline? What is my area of study? The purpose of this seminar is to examine different ways of approaching social sciences, and also legal scholarship such as a doctrinal approach, theoretical approach, comparative etc. We will reflect on why it is important to think about the approach that your research follows, and how to articulate and defend this approach. The seminar will be an open discussion encouraging us all to reflect on a number of issues: • Different approaches to scholarship; • What is ‘methodogical rigour’? • How should we explain our scholarship? The students will have to position their own thesis work in a specific discipline (or interdisciplinary) and identify areas of study of interest to their project.
  • Writing a literature review.
    Lecture 3. Studying Asia via Research Interview Reading: Hermanowicz, J.C. The great interview: 25 strategies for studying people in bed. Qualitative Sociology, 2002. 25(4), Pp.: 479–499. Seminar 3. Writing a literature review. The intention behind this seminar is that we should have a discussion about the nature and purpose of professional journals in the development of scholarship (and also about how to go about publishing in them for the purposes of building an academic career). Students will have to read five of their favourite journal articles and present a short literature review in class to be evaluated by everyone in the classroom.
  • Writing a research/thesis proposal.
    Lecture 4. Thermalizing and Designing the Interview. Stages of Conducting and Analysing Interviews. Reading: Kvale S., and Brinkmann S., Interviews: Learning the Craft of Qualitative Research Interviewing (2nd Edition). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009. Chapters 3-6. Seminar 4. Writing a thesis proposal. In this seminar we will focus on how to write an advanced thesis proposal, as well as how to write research proposals for schools and funding applications. Guidance on how to write a thesis: There are a number of books on the market giving guidance on how to write a doctorate. Like all books giving guidance whether you find them useful or not is a very personal thing. Below are a couple that different people have found useful. Umberto Eco, How to Write a Thesis (New Edition, 2015). Wildavsky A, Craftways: On the Organisation of Scholarly Work (2nd ed) (Transaction 1993) Morris C & Murphy C, Getting a PhD in Law (Hart 2011) - title says it all! Becker H, Writing for Social Scientists: How to Start and Finish Your Thesis, Book or Article (2nd ed) (University of Chicago Press 2007) Murray R, How to Write a Thesis (2nd ed) (Open University Press 2006) Dunleavy P, Authoring a PhD (Palgrave 2003) Fowler A, How to Write (OUP 2006)
  • Oral presentation of your topic.
    Lecture 5. Studying Grounded Theory Reading: The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory. Edited by Antony Bryant & Kathy Charmaz. Chapter: “Introduction: Grounded Theory Research: Methods and Practices|”. London: SAGE Publications. 2011. Pp: 1-28. Seminar 5. Oral presentation of your topic. Students will give a 5 minute presentation of their thesis topic.
  • Qualitative research methods.
    Lecture 6. Biographical Analysis as a Tool of Social Research Reading: Tom Wengraf & Prue Chamberlayne & Joanna Bornat. SAGE Biographical Research. Chapter Title: “A Biographical Turn in the Social Sciences? A British-European View”. London: SAGE Publications. 2015. Pp: 77-101. Seminar 6. Qualitative research methods. In this seminar we will cover different qualitative research methods. Readings To Be Assigned.
  • Legal research methods.
    Lecture 7. Narrative Analysis in Social Research Reading: Riessman C.K. “Chapter 10: Narrative analysis”. In A.M. Huberman and M.B. Miles (eds.) The Qualitative Researcher’s Companion. Thousand Oaks, CA. 2002. Pp.: 217-270 Seminar 7. Legal research methods. This session will be for students whose work involves interdisciplinary studies and law.
  • How to present your research in written and oral form? Final thesis.
    Lecture 8. Studying Russian Politics in East Asia: Discourse Analysis Reading: Marianne Jørgensen, Louise Phillips. Discourse Analysis as Theory and Method. London: SAGE Publications. 2002. Seminar 8. How to present you research in written and oral form? Your final thesis. For this seminar students will have had to prepare and complete the research proposal of their thesis including the literature review and methodology. We will discuss them in class.
  • Basic Statistical Concepts
    2.1. Population vs. Sample2.2. Random Sample2.3. Probability, probability distributions2.4. Work with R functions: pnorm, tnorm, density, etc.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Homework 1
  • non-blocking Homework 2
  • non-blocking Homework 3
  • non-blocking Homework 4
  • non-blocking Homework 5
  • non-blocking Midterm test
  • non-blocking Final test
    экзамен состоялся в марте 2020 года
  • non-blocking Seminar attendance and Participation
  • non-blocking Written research portfolio
  • non-blocking In-class Presentation of research portfolio
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.3 * Final test + 0.1 * Homework 1 + 0.1 * Homework 2 + 0.1 * Homework 3 + 0.1 * Homework 4 + 0.1 * Homework 5 + 0.2 * Midterm test
  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.25 * In-class Presentation of research portfolio + 0.5 * Seminar attendance and Participation + 0.25 * Written research portfolio


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Wilcox R R. Understanding and Applying Basic Statistical Methods Using R / R R. Wilcox. - Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley; 2016. eBook https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/hselibraryebooks/detail.action?docID=4526801

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • An adventure in statistics: The reality enigma, Field, A., 2016
  • Discovering statistics using R, Field, A., 2012