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Regular version of the site
Master 2020/2021

Research Seminar "Design and Methodology"

Type: Compulsory course (Comparative Politics of Eurasia)
Area of studies: Political Science
When: 1 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Instructors: András Gál
Master’s programme: Comparative Politics of Eurasia
Language: English
ECTS credits: 4

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The course offers an introduction to the practice of social scientific research on a graduate level. Considering the interdisciplinary character of the MA program and the diverse background of the student body, the course aims to familiarize students with international standards of linking empirical and conceptual approaches, data-collection, academic writing, and communicating research results.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to familiarize students with international standards of linking empirical and conceptual approaches, data-collection, academic writing, and communicating research results
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • will have a firm grasp on the essential practical guidelines of research design and planning.
  • The essential genres of academic writing will be introduced
  • will be able to confidently mobilize external sources in their research, fully aware of the boundaries between sound academic writing and plagiarism or academic dishonesty
  • Students will be able to effectively communicate their research results.
  • Students will become familiar with the essential features of academic publishing procedures
  • Avenues of applying research skills outside academia will be introduced
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The fundamental features of academic research and genres of academic writing
    The core features of position papers, literature reviews, review articles, journal articles, theses, and monographic works are introduced. By preparing students to their assignments in the MA program, a particular emphasis will be given to position papers, literature reviews, and theses.
  • Research ethics and the use of supporting tools
    An introduction is given to the international standards or academic writing, data-collection, and publishing. In order to help students safely navigate their research activities within these standards, they will be familiarized with reference managers (e.g. Mendeley, Zotero) and data collection softwares (e.g. NVivo, supporting tools in MS Office).
  • Avoiding the “So what?” question: puzzles, problems and research questions
    This seminar focuses on how various audiences (departmental, academic, professional) perceive research questions and projects, helping students formulating their own inquiries in a way that matters beyond the academic procedures of the program.
  • A practical guide to planning research: term papers, thesis outlines, PhD proposals
    The essential elements and steps of planning research procedures are introduced. While in cases of term papers and theses both the preparatory, data-collecting, and writing phases are discussed, for PhD proposals only the planning is introduced, considering that some students may plan to continue their studies on a doctoral level.
  • Communicating in academic contexts: presentations and conference discussions
    The essential features of academic presentations are introduced, like presenting projects in classrooms, presenting research at a conference, or mentally preparing for a so-called ‘elevator pitch’.
  • Pluralistic traditions, mixed methods? Navigating between epistemic and methodological traditions
    This session will focus on the substantive part of research design, providing some guidelines for students to navigate their research ideas among the different traditions they are exposed to in the first stage of the program.
  • The use of research skills in non-academic contexts
    The job market perspectives of students with research-oriented profiles are discussed in this session, preparing students to develop their methodological skills with a sense of strategic planning. A virtual roundtable session will be held in the second part of the class, with some graduates of the program and some researchers with a PhD degree currently working in applied research or consultancy positions (at international, governmental and non-governmental organizations) sharing their experiences.
  • Presentation workshop 1
    In the last two sessions, students will share their preliminary plans for their MA thesis and present it in a conference-style presentation and discussion.
  • Presentation workshop 2
    In the last two sessions, students will share their preliminary plans for their MA thesis and present it in a conference-style presentation and discussion.
  • Position paper
  • Literature review
  • Presentation
  • Written exercises
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Position paper
    The position paper shall be a problem-based, argumentative text demonstrating the student’s capacity to identify academically relevant problems, finding avenues to tackle it, and communicating her/his arguments in a persuasive, transparent, and succinct manner. The position paper should also demonstrate the student’s firm understanding on the differences between epistemic and methodological traditions. The position paper’s extent shall not exceed 1,000 words, including foot/endnotes, excluding the bibliography.
  • non-blocking Literature review
    The literature review should be a narrative text demonstrating the student’s ability to identify the relevant sources for her/his research, to identify various positions and debates in the relevant literature, and to situate her/his own research within these debates. The literature review’s extent shall not exceed 600 words, including foot/endnotes, excluding the bibliography.
  • non-blocking Presentation
    The presentation should be a preliminary proposal on the student’s major research project within the program, the MA thesis. Beyond presenting their works, students will also have to comment on other research proposals in a constructive fashion. The oral presentation shall be max. 10 minutes long.
  • non-blocking Written exercises
    The written tasks are short exercises, following up on specific aspects of a given class, e.g. discerning cases of academic dishonesty and plagiarism, transgressing boundaries in academic genres, etc. Depending on the discussions within the class sessions, 2-4 of these will be assigned throughout the semester, always touching upon specific practical matters.
  • non-blocking Class participation
    In the class participation component, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade: • frequency and concision of class participations • originality of class contribution • connection between preparation materials and class contributions • contribution to class discussion dynamics • participation in maintaining an inspiring class environment
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.1 * Class participation + 0.2 * Literature review + 0.3 * Position paper + 0.3 * Presentation + 0.1 * Written exercises
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Hancké, B. (2009). Intelligent Research Design : A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=299002

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Eco, U., Farina, G., & Mongiat Farina, C. (2015). How to Write a Thesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=963778
  • Henry E. Brady, & David Collier. (2010). Rethinking Social Inquiry : Diverse Tools, Shared Standards: Vol. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • King, G. (DE-588)135604311, (DE-627)568593324, (DE-576)166299405, aut. (1994). Designing social inquiry scientific inference in qualitative research Gary King; Robert O. Keohane; Sidney Verba.
  • Landman, T. (2008). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics : An Introduction (Vol. 3rd ed). Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=222321
  • The Oxford handbook of political methodology / ed. by Janet Box-Steffensmeier . (2008). Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford Univ. Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.253060168