Foto: Matthias Friel
What is Political Science Research and how does it work? In times of “fake news“ and claims of a “post factual society“, the skill to distinguish between fact and opinion, between theory and evidence, is key. Empirical-analytical political science research is a tool to describe and explain the world around us by using a specific set of methods. It is the scientific method as such that sets research apart from other modes of producing knowledge. The course will guide through various steps in the process of producing high-quality research and teach students the hard skills and difficult choices involved in the craft. The practical examples are taken from applied research in International Relations (IR) and the course aims at students in the political science master programs who have already taken courses in the field of IR.
Political science includes a large variety of different methods, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. The type of methods applied to pursue a research question are called research designs. Only a thorough understanding of research designs and how they have been applied will allow the reader to assess the quality of research and challenge the validity of evidence. In this seminar, students will be introduced to the basic concepts of research designs, different options and the relative advantages and disadvantages of various research methods (content analysis, process tracing, QCA, statistics). Knowledge about research designs will prepare students for their research work (course papers, final theses etc.) at the university. It will also help refine them as critical and organized thinkers more generally. Understanding of research designs will help students evaluate phenomena in IR and question common assumptions about international politics from various perspectives.
Creswell, John W. 2018. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Della Porta, Donatella & Keating, Michael (eds.). 2008. Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences: A Pluralist Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Howard, Christopher. 2017. Thinking Like a Political Scientist: A Practical Guide to Research Methods. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
King, Gary, Keohane, Robert O. & Verba, Sidney. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Panke, Diana. 2018. Research Design and Method Selection: Makin good Choices in the Social Sciences. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Toshkov, Dimiter. 2016. Research Design in Political Science. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
The language of instruction is English.
Registration for this seminar will be through PULS during the official enrollment period. Please enroll by 24.10.21. If there are more than 20 registrations, a decision on admission will be made after the first seminar session.
The examination includes an oral presentation, the submission of smaller assignments, and a final term paper. Please upload your term paper as a pdf file to Moodle in the designated session by 31.03.2022. A print version is not required.
Please note that the acceptance of your final examination is only possible with a valid PULS registration. If you wish to submit a term paper, please register for the module examination on PULS by 15.03.2022.
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