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Regular version of the site
Master 2021/2022

Research Seminar

Type: Compulsory course (Business and Politics in Modern Asia)
Area of studies: Asian and African Studies
When: 2 year, 1-3 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Master’s programme: Business and Politics in Modern Asia
Language: English
ECTS credits: 6
Contact hours: 46

Course Syllabus


The primary aim of the course is to facilitate the thesis writing process of second-year MA students, in three principal parts. First, core issues around academic writing are addressed, ranging from academic integrity to the clear and persuasive manner of communicating research results (sessions 1-6). Second, critical issues in thesis-writing projects, such as data collection, trade-offs in research design, or case selections strategies are discussed (sessions 7-16). Third, students will discuss their thesis projects in a workshop format (sessions 17-23).
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The core objective of the course is to facilitate the thesis writing of second-year MA students, building on the skills and knowledge acquired in the first year of their program
  • The research seminar sets are perceived and designed as adjunct and support to regular courses in the MA programme. Students are expected to learn methods for research and apply them to course work of the other programmes, asking for assistance of the instructor when desired
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • becomes familiar with the essential features of academic publishing procedures
  • has a firm grasp on the essential practical guidelines of research design and planning
  • has avenues of applying research skills outside academia
  • is able to confidently mobilize external sources in their research, fully aware of the boundaries between sound academic writing and plagiarism or academic dishonesty
  • is able to effectively communicate their research results
  • Able to build professional activities, business and make choices, guided by the principles of social responsibility Able to organize the work of a group (collective, team), including a mixed type, including representatives of eastern and western professional communities, to study international political, economic, social and cultural processes in Asia and Africa
  • Able to conduct business negotiations in foreign languages ​​(one oriental and one English) Able to use traditional and interactive methods of classroom and extracurricular work in the framework of teaching the basics of oriental studies and teaching various special oriental disciplines
  • Able to formulate and substantiate proposals for joint oriental research, scientific-analytical and applied work Able to present the results of professional activity publicly in one oriental and English languages ​​directly in front of the audience and indirectly - in the media, in the Internet space
  • Able to freely carry out professional and scientific communication in foreign languages Able to search for information on topical issues in Asia and Africa and process it using modern methods of qualitative and quantitative analysis
  • Able to improve and develop his intellectual and cultural level, build a trajectory of professional development and career Able to analyze, verify, evaluate the completeness of information in the course of professional activity, if necessary, fill in and synthesize the missing information
  • Able to independently identify the problematic field of research in the field of various aspects of the study of Asia and Africa Able to draw up official-business, scientific and unofficial documents in one oriental and English languages ​​in accordance with the norms of speech etiquette
  • Able to independently master new research methods, change the scientific and production profile of his activities
  • Able to organize and manage multi-party communication Able to conduct professional, including research activities in an international environment
  • Able to solve problems in professional and social activities, taking into account social, socio-cultural, socio-political, ethnocultural and religious differences between the peoples of Asia and Africa Able to consciously choose strategies of interpersonal interaction with representatives of countries and bearers of cultures of Asia and Africa
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The fundamental features of academic research and genres of academic writing
  • Introduction to the course
  • Research ethics and the use of supporting tools
  • Defining and writing a Research Question
  • Avoiding the “So what?” question: puzzles, problems and research questions
  • Writing of literature review
  • A practical guide to thesis writing
  • Experimental Design concepts
  • Writing a PhD application
  • Analysis, Synthesis, Discussion, Conclusions
  • An introduction to the basics of academic publishing
  • How to choose methods of research
  • Critical junctures in research
  • Students Presentations
  • Trade-offs and pitfalls
  • Introduction to second practical part of the Research Seminar
  • Essentials of quantitative research
  • Meeting with expert: main business trends in Asia
  • Case selection strategies
  • Meeting with expert: How to organize successful business in Asia
  • Qualitative data-collections (essentials)
  • Meeting with expert: Working in Asia
  • Qualitative data-collection: workshop
  • Meeting with expert: E-commerce in Asia
  • Communicating in academic contexts: presentations and conference discussions
  • Meeting with expert: How to manage with Asian partners
  • The use of research skills in non-academic contexts
  • Meeting with expert: Differences in negotiations style
  • Presentation workshops (9 sessions)
  • Short assignments
  • Research question essay
  • Practice in negotiating with Asian partners
  • Reaction paper
  • Thesis presentation
  • Discussing other thesis project
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class Participation
  • non-blocking Articles review
  • non-blocking Essay
  • non-blocking In-class presentation
  • non-blocking Weekly group assignments
  • non-blocking Literature Review
    Hand-out (email) of actual thesis for review 07 Dec 2020.
  • non-blocking Assessment of actual thesis in-class
    Team Presentation of assessment of actual thesis.
  • non-blocking Participation (attendance of Zoom class meetings)
  • non-blocking Short assignments
    The short assignments are brief 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 Research question essay
    The research question essay should be a 400-600 words-long (including foot/endnotes, excluding bibliography) explication of the student’s central research question in her/his MA thesis, reflecting on its justification, academic relevance, and feasibility.
  • non-blocking Reaction paper
    The reaction paper has to explicate how the methodological considerations introduced in one of the mandatory readings contributes to her/his MA thesis. The reactions paper should be 600-800 words-long, including foot/endnotes, excluding bibliography.
  • non-blocking Thesis 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 style.
  • non-blocking Participation in the general class sessions
    In both class participation components, 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
  • non-blocking Participation in thesis workshop sessions
    In both class participation components, 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
  • non-blocking Discussing another thesis presentation
    Beyond presenting their works, students will also have to comment on other research proposals in a constructive fashion.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2020/2021 2nd module
    0.25 * Weekly group assignments + 0.25 * Assessment of actual thesis in-class + 0.25 * Participation (attendance of Zoom class meetings) + 0.25 * Literature Review
  • 2020/2021 4th module
    0.25 * In-class Participation + 0.25 * Essay + 0.25 * Articles review + 0.25 * In-class presentation
  • 2021/2022 3rd module
    0.1 * Participation in the general class sessions + 0.1 * Short assignments + 0.3 * Thesis presentation + 0.15 * Research question essay + 0.1 * Discussing another thesis presentation + 0.1 * Participation in thesis workshop sessions + 0.15 * Reaction paper


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bob Hancké. (2009). Intelligent Research Design : A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences. OUP Oxford.
  • Cooper, I. D. (2015). How to write an original research paper (and get it published)I. Diane Cooper, AHIP. https://doi.org/10.3163/1536-5050.103.2.001
  • Globalization and Development Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Business and Policy Insights from Asia and Africa edited by Nezameddin Faghih. (2019).
  • Hiram Ting, Ling, J., & Jun Hwa Cheah. (2020). Editorial: It Will Go Away!? Pandemic Crisis and Business in Asia. Asian Journal of Business Research, 10(1), I–VII. https://doi.org/10.14707/ajbr.200072
  • 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.
  • Peyton Jones, S. (2018). How to Write a Great Research Paper. https://doi.org/10.4230/OASIcs.ICCSW.2017.1
  • Tidiane Kinda. (2019). E-commerce as a Potential New Engine for Growth in Asia. IMF Working Papers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.imf.imfwpa.19.135
  • Yu-Te Tu. (2013). A Comparison on Intercultural Business Negotiations of Asia’s Four Little Dragons. International Journal of Business and Social Research, 3(4), 65–79. https://doi.org/10.18533/ijbsr.v3i4.30

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
  • Hong Hai. (2020). The Rule of Culture : Corporate and State Governance in China and East Asia. Routledge.
  • Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady, & David Collier. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. OUP Oxford.
  • Redding, G., Bond, M. H., & Witt, M. A. (2012). Culture and the Business Systems of Asia. INSEAD Working Papers Collection, 132, 1–25.
  • Todd Landman. (2003). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics : An Introduction: Vol. 2nd ed. Routledge.
  • Walliman, N. (2018). Research Methods: The Basics : 2nd Edition (Vol. Second edition). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1588568