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Бакалаврская программа «Политология и мировая политика»

Qualitative Methods in Political Research

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс обязательный
Когда читается:
2-й курс, 1, 2 модуль


Course Syllabus


This course familiarizes students with methodological issues raised by interpretation in political science/International Relations scholarship and provides them with an introduction to the use of qualitative (interpretive) methods for analysis of political phenomena. The course encourages students to reflect on how they conceptualise, design and analyse the political world. This involves exploring the relationship between theory and empirical research with particular emphasis on the collection/production and analysis of qualitative data with emphasis on field-guided research process. More specifically, the course explores ethnographic methodologies and various interpretive approaches used in works from fields such as politics, public policy, International Relations, global governance studies and (critical) development studies. It also considers practical methodological strategies that will aid students to design their own research with a proper fit between research questions and methods.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • 1. To introduce students to methodological issues raised by interpretation in political science scholarship and to provide them with a toolbox for the use of qualitative methods for analysis of political phenomena
  • 2. To learn how to formulate and address research problems that can be solved by qualitative (interpretive) methodology tools
  • 3. To learn how to conduct fieldwork in effective and ethical way
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • reflects on how she conceptualises, designs and analyses the political world
  • uses qualitative (interpretive) methods for analysis of political phenomena
  • analyses methodological issues raised by interpretation in political science scholarship
  • explains how interpretive approaches have been used in politics, public policy, International Relations, global governance studies and (critical) development studies
  • conducts (ethnographic) fieldwork
  • selects methodological approaches and data collection methods fitting her research aims
  • thinks critically and interprets the experience (personal and of other persons) related to professional and social activities
  • demonstrates ability to retrieve, collect, process and analyse information relevant for achieving goals in the professional field
  • selects research methods appropriate for resolving the professional tasks
  • conducts research, including problem analysis, setting goals and objectives, defining research subject, selecting research methods and ensuring quality control
  • designs her own research with a proper fit between research questions and methods
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to Qualitative (Interpretive) Methodology
  • Interpretive turn in political science and IR
  • Research strategies and data collection methods: overview
  • Political ethnography
  • Ethnography in practice
  • Interviews
  • Discourse analysis
  • Practice turn and practice tracing in IR
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class participation
    Assessment will be based on attendance, preparation of readings, participation in class discussion with the focus on qualitative contribution to the discussion, ability to answer questions based on the readings, come up with own interpretations and react to comments made by other students.
  • non-blocking Presentation
    Each tutorial focusing on discussion of assigned readings (starting from the session 2) will commence by a presentation prepared by a group of students (up to 4 students per group). By the lecture 2, students should propose for approval by the instructor (via email): 1) composition of their groups; 2) topics for their presentations chosen from the topics/readings assigned for the tutorials. These presentations will function as basis for further class discussion. Therefore, presenters are supposed to cover mandatory and optional readings and, preferably, use other non-assigned sources for their analysis on the chosen topic in order to make a genuinely original contribution.
  • non-blocking Book methods review paper (individual assignment)
    Your main individual assignment is to read a book in political science or International Relations and comment on its research framework and methods. The instructor will provide the list of books for the review paper at the lecture 2. Choose one of the books from the list provided by the instructor and write a paper that analyses its research objectives and methodology/methods and that presents your reflections on the connections between the two. Sign up for book methods review paper indicating the title of the book you would like to review by the lecture 4 (please consider creating your group list with all necessary data and share it with the instructor). The review paper (approximately 1000-1500 words) is due by the first lecture in the module 2.
  • non-blocking Final paper (group work)
    Final paper is a written group assignment (from 2 to 6 students per group) evaluating students’ progress during the course. We will discuss content, format and possible style(s) of the final paper during the seminars. Generally, it is expected that your final paper draws on a method or a combination of methods discussed in our course. For instance, in case of an ethnographic final paper it would draw on your observations/fieldnotes, including your reflections from the field and upon return from the field. You are advised to relate your writings to theory. You may, however, opt not to do so but such a methodological choice is to be explicitly motivated. The degree of “the presence” of the authors in the text is a matter of individual choice. Examples of what a good interview-based paper or a good ethnography looks like are easily found in mandatory and optional readings. I can provide you with specific examples of writings on particular topics, locations, research traditions upon request. You are also very welcome to look for them in the library. The final paper is due by the last tutorial of the course (end of module 2). I will need to approve the composition of your groups and topics: please provide me with a shared document containing necessary information by the tutorial 5 (via email).
  • non-blocking Homework
    Students will be asked to produce several short written assignments (e.g. short observation in a familiar location; short observation in an unfamiliar location; critical reflection on a short observation produced by another student; interview). Such home assignments will be assessed throughout the course based, in particular, on their public discussions during seminars together with fieldnotes/interview materials produced for your final group work.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.25 * Final paper (group work) + 0.25 * In-class participation + 0.2 * Book methods review paper (individual assignment) + 0.15 * Homework + 0.15 * Presentation


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bliesemann de Guevara, B. (2016). Myth and Narrative in International Politics : Interpretive Approaches to the Study of IR. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1243387
  • Durnová, A., Orsini, M., Fischer, F., & Torgerson, D. (2015). Handbook of Critical Policy Studies. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1136498
  • Harrison, A. K. (2014). Ethnography. United States, North America: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.19897453
  • Leavy, P. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Qualitative Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=779511
  • Neumann, C. B. (2018). Power, Culture and Situated Research Methodology Autobiography, Field, Text by Cecilie Basberg Neumann, Iver B. Neumann. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.491759193
  • Taylor, S. J., DeVault, M. L., & Bogdan, R. (2016). Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods : A Guidebook and Resource (Vol. 4th edition). Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1061324

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bueger, C., & Gadinger, F. (2018). International Practice Theory (Vol. Second edition). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1737002
  • Cerwonka, A. (2004). Native to the Nation : Disciplining Landscapes and Bodies in Australia. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=172850
  • Interpretation and method: Empirical research methods and the interpretive turn, 2nd ed. (2014). M.E. Sharpe. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsnar&AN=edsnar.oai.library.wur.nl.wurpubs.449341
  • Mosse, D. (2005). Cultivating Development : An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. London: Pluto Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=167913
  • Neumann, I. B. (2012). At Home with the Diplomats : Inside a European Foreign Ministry. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=671551
  • Reeves, M. (2014). Border Work : Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=671306
  • Wedeen, L. (2008). Peripheral Visions : Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=285096