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Regular version of the site
Master 2020/2021

Research Seminar "Public Policy Analysis"

Type: Elective course (Political Analysis and Public Policy)
Area of studies: Political Science
Delivered by: Public Policy Department
When: 1 year, 1-4 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Instructors: Anna Nikitichna Potsar, Caroline Schlaufer, Artem Uldanov
Master’s programme: Political Analysis and Public Policy
Language: English
ECTS credits: 10
Contact hours: 120

Course Syllabus


The research seminar aims both methodological and substantive goals. The first one is to provide students with analytical and research skills required for writing academic articles, essays, reviews, reports, course papers and dissertation research on the public policy analysis, human rights and democratic governance. The second goal is to teach to students contemporary approaches to the research of public policy and human rights issues. Students will learn, explore and practice relevant methods of organization of public policy analysis & monitoring in various fields. They will be able to present their research results in the form of individual course paper or master thesis.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To help students specify the issues of their prospective research and formulate research topic by giving them the opportunity to get acquainted with the professors of the department, particularly with the scope of their research interests, publications, research papers themes of the department
  • To familiarize students with the research and analysis methods, to introduce them the rules of drafting and developing of academic research texts of various genres clarifying the language peculiarities of academic writing
  • To develop professional skills and competences required for the preparation of course papers, master's theses, academic papers, reviews, etc. on public policy & human rights issues
  • To develop the students' skills of academic discussion, expert debate, presentation of the research work results to the expert community, critically reviewing the comments and defending their point of view
  • To teach students the techniques and skills of scientific analysis of empirical data needed for their further professional activities
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Be able conduct an independent research in the field of public policy & human rights, both singly and within the group
  • Be able to use academic literature properly, involving results of previous studies and other sources of data to develop their own research
  • Be able to use different data, apply different analysis methods in the public policy & human rights research and monitoring
  • Be able to develop independently the program of the research in the field of public policy & human rights and draft and present in public the results of the academic research
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Preparing to conduct a research: problem formulation, literature review, research design, conceptualization, operationalization, working with data
    -Public policy research field. Methodologic and theoretic “core”. Main clusters: Actors, Institutions, Mechanisms and Policies -Public policy research: presentations by the Program staff -Reading recommendations -Research problem formulation. Research questions. The goal (aim) of the research. Research hypotheses or assumptions. -Developing Your Literature Review. Citation Rules. Reference Rules. APA Manual. -Research Design. The program of applied research and the introduction of the "fundamental" research. -Theoretical and methodological basis of research. Research methods and data sources. Chronological framework of study, scientific novelty. -Structure of a study. -Conceptualization and operationalization: the relationship between the concept, variable and measurement, relationships between concepts, variables and indicators. Preparation for measurement: levels, scale, measurement error.
  • Term paper preparations
    Sources of information: media, statistics, social science data, regulations, political-ideological documents, agitation and propaganda. Advantages and disadvantages. Analytical tasks. Subject of study. Opinions (attitudes), evaluation, data (and their interpretation), knowledge, texts and discourses. Research methods. Surveys (questionnaires, interviews), tests, simulations, brainstorming, synectics, polylogue, Delphi, patterns, scenario forecasting, event analysis, situational analysis, case study, observation, experiment, network analysis, cost-benefit analysis, SWOT; mathematical models, conceptual analysis, content analysis, discourse analysis.
  • Practicum research methods: Application to a term paper
    The possibilities and limits of qualitative/quantitative enquiry, Developing good research questions and theoretical frames, Research ethics and the literature review, Case studies and field research, Interviewing, Content analysis
  • Academic Writing
    The nature and structure of an academic text. Different academic texts. The rules of scientific writing. Construction of chapters and paragraphs. The focus and main argument of an academic text. Citing sources according to the APA manual and avoiding plagiarism. Style and rhetorical devices in academic writing. Writing a good introduction. Writing about the methodological approach. Writing about the theoretical framework and applying it to a specific research question. Developing a results section. Using tables, graphs, etc., Writing a good conclusion. Standards for the bibliography
  • Practicum: case studies, group work and research projects
    We will focus on a group work and peculiar aspects of public policy analysis using different cases of global and local policy problems
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Research proposal
  • non-blocking Participation in discussions at the seminars
  • blocking Term paper defense
  • non-blocking Term paper pre-defense
    Due to COVID19 situation, this year's pre-defenses will be held in online format. We will use Zoom for videoconferences, students will be provided with a link to join the conference and must paticipate in accordance with the schedule announced by the study office. Students need to make sure that their Internet connection is stable enough to have a videoconference. The commision will tolerate disconnects, but a student must return to a conference in not more than 3 minutes. If connection problems persists, the commision will consider a possibility to reschedule the defense for a student. Reexaminations will be held in a standard for such kind of control form.
  • non-blocking Preliminary literature review
  • non-blocking Research outline and draft of the 1st chapter
  • non-blocking Reflection paper
  • non-blocking Homework (Toulmin's model)
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (1 module)
    0.4 * Preliminary literature review + 0.6 * Research proposal
  • Interim assessment (3 module)
    0.4 * Research outline and draft of the 1st chapter + 0.6 * Term paper pre-defense
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.3 * Reflection paper + 0.7 * Term paper defense


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bailey, S. (2017). Academic Writing : A Handbook for International Students (Vol. Fifth edition). London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1650435
  • Ethridge, M. E. (2015). The Political Research Experience: Readings and Analysis : Readings and Analysis (Vol. Third edition). London: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=955843
  • Gangl, M. (2016). Counterfactuals and Causal Inference. Methods and Principles for Social Research. Stephen L. Morgan & Christopher Winship, 2007. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.C94AE197
  • Gideon, L. (2012). Handbook of Survey Methodology for the Social Sciences. New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=534934
  • May, T. (2011). Social Research : Issues, Methods and Process (Vol. 4th ed). Maidenhead, Berkshire, England: McGraw-Hill Education. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=375113
  • Thissen, W. A. H., & Walker, W. E. (2013). Public Policy Analysis : New Developments. New York: Springer. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=537663

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Holland, J., & World Bank. (2007). Tools for Institutional, Political, and Social Analysis of Policy Reform : A Sourcebook for Development Practitioners. Washington, DC: World Bank Publications. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=187269
  • Johnson, A. P. (2016). Academic Writing : Process and Product. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1222793