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Regular version of the site

Qualitative Methods in Political Research

2019/2020
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
4
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
2 year, 1, 2 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This course familiarizes students with methodological issues raised by interpretation in political science scholarship and provides them with an introduction to the use of qualitative 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 and analysis of qualitative data (namely, the techniques of participant observation, in-depth interview, digital ethnography). 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

  • 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
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • is familiar with methodological issues raised by interpretation in political science scholarship
  • knows how interpretive approaches have been used in politics, public policy, International Relations, global governance studies and (critical) development studies
  • reflects on how she conceptualises, designs and analyses the political world
  • is able to use qualitative methods for analysis of political phenomena
  • is able to use the techniques of participant observation, in-depth interview, digital ethnography
  • is able to design her own research with a proper fit between research questions and methods
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Introduction to Qualitative Methodology
  • (Self)ethnography. Participant observation
  • Qualitative interview: data collection
  • Qualitative interview: coding and analysis
  • Focus-groups
  • Visual methods
  • Digital ethnography
  • Interpretive turn and political ethnography (I)
  • Interpretive turn and political ethnography (II)
  • Ethnography and interpretive analysis in IR
  • Discourse analysis in IR
  • Practice turn and practice tracing in IR (I)
  • Practice turn and practice tracing in IR (II)
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Class assignment: first module
    Every assignment includes take-home element (half of the grade) and in-class participation i.e. group presentation (another half of the grade for that particular assignment).
  • non-blocking Class assignment: first module
    Every assignment includes take-home element (half of the grade) and in-class participation i.e. group presentation (another half of the grade for that particular assignment).
  • non-blocking Class assignment: first module
    Every assignment includes take-home element (half of the grade) and in-class participation i.e. group presentation (another half of the grade for that particular assignment).
  • non-blocking In-class participation: second module
    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: second module
    Each tutorial (starting from the week 8) will commence by a presentation prepared by a group of students (5-6 students per group). By the lecture 8, 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 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: second module
    Your main individual assignment is to read a recent book in political science or International Relations and comment on its research framework and methods. Choose one of the books from the list below and write a paper that analyses its research objectives and methods and that presents your reflections on the connections between the two. The paper (approximately 1000-1500 words) is due by the tutorial session 11. Sign up for book methods review paper (indicating the title of the book you would like to review): by email by the lecture session 9.The list of books for the book methods review paper (please select one for your analysis): Cerwonka, A. (2004) Native to the Nation: Disciplining Landscapes and Bodies in Australia. University of Minnesota Press. Mosse, D. (2005) Cultivating Development: An Ethnography of Aid Policy and Practice. London / Ann Arbor, MI.: Pluto Press. Neumann, I.B. (2012) At Home with the Diplomats: Inside a European Foreign Ministry. Cornell University Press. Reeves, M. (2014) Border Work: Spatial Lives of the State in Rural Central Asia. Cornell University Press. Wedeen, L. (2008) Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.2 * Book Methods Review paper: second module + 0.15 * Class assignment: first module + 0.15 * Class assignment: first module + 0.2 * Class assignment: first module + 0.15 * In-class participation: second module + 0.15 * Presentation: second module
Bibliography

Bibliography

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
  • Bueger, C. (2014). Pathways to practice: praxiography and international politics. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.211AEF35
  • Friedrichs, J., & Kratochwil, F. (2009). On Acting and Knowing: How Pragmatism Can Advance International Relations Research and Methodology. International Organization, (04), 701. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.intorg.v63y2009i04p701.731.99
  • 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
  • Klotz, A. (2007). Strategies for research in constructivist international relations / by Audie Klotz and Cecelia M. Lynch. Armonk, N. Y. [u.a.]: M.E. Sharpe. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.266026311
  • 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
  • Pouliot, V. (2008). The Logic of Practicality: A Theory of Practice of Security Communities. International Organization, (02), 257. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.a.cup.intorg.v62y2008i02p257.288.08
  • Schwartz-Shea, P., & Yanow, D. (2006). Interpretation and Method : Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn. Armonk, N.Y.: ME Sharpe, Inc. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=199779
  • 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
  • Vrasti, W. (2008). The Strange Case of Ethnography and International Relations. Conference Papers —— International Studies Association, 1–49. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=poh&AN=42975878

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Brinkmann, S. (2013). Qualitative Interviewing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=603936
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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, 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
  • 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
  • Power in Practice:Negotiating the International Intervention in Libya. (2014). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.E8949747
  • 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