The seminar is a dissertation seminar designed to help student prepare and complete their MA thesis on a broad range of topics related to various aspects of international relations in Eurasia. This seminar is a multi-disciplinary one and it deals with both the theoretical and practical aspects of designing dissertation and successfully defending it. The purpose of the course is to assist students through the proposal and dissertation writing processes.
The student will explore the field of Research proposal development and the conduct of Research projects as applied to their dissertation topic. They will also review the literature relevant to their dissertation topic, design a conceptual framework, develop data analysis plan . Under the supervision of the instructor, students will present their own work to the seminar for discussion, critique, and advice. On occasion, students may also present brief summaries of articles or books from the reading list that they consider particularly relevant or useful.
Students will be able to critique Research proposals of each other & offer constructive advice.
The seminar will be composed of two parts
The First part will remind the students of the basic approached used in preparing dissertation proposals and will be run along the following lines:
Topic.1 Dissertation proposal structure
Essential elements of the dissertation proposal include:
statement of problem
delimitation of topic
statement of purpose (personal motivation / interest in topic)
conceptual framework (theoretical approach used and literature review)
formulation of the research questions
clear description of methodology including methods of data collection & data analysis
statement of the scholarly significance of the dissertation proposal
possible implications of the dissertation (expected contribution to knowledge and/or practical implications) dissertation chapter outline
Topic 2. Preparing for the research. Literature Review, Research Design, Working with Data
Doing a Review of Literature. Citation Rules. Reference Rules. Plagiarism
Topic 3. Qualitative methods: Applications for the term paper
Building a system of classification. Analysis: identification of the specific boundaries (start, end) of the events and event phases. Bearing in mind political context, social situation and cultural patterns. Content Analysis: identification of themes/topics.
Topic 4. Academic writing: composition, structure and arguments
Nature of academic writing. Guidelines for academic writing in different genres with a focus on abstract, essay, literature review, MA thesis. Laying out the composition of research after specifying research data and choosing methods of data analysis.
The second part of the seminar will involve presentations by students of their dissertation outlines, research question, choice of methodology, ideas on collecting data and, finally, upon the completion of their first drafts, “test defenses” of their dissertations to the seminar leader and their peers.
The second part of the seminar will also involve individual consultations and semi-structured work with smaller group of students who develop their thesis in adjacent scholarly fields.