• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Research Seminar

2020/2021
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
2
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
3 year, 1-4 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The research seminar aims at helping students in their scientific and research activities, by mastering their knowledge in research design formulation, as well as new research methods application. The first part of the course deals with the basics of the research: research design composition, literature review, theory and method selection, as well as research strategies. In the second part of the course, students practice one of the methods (Ethnography, Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), Text – as – Data or Process Tracing techniques) by discussing their peculiarities and developing their own projects.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • Develop students' skills in formulating and justifying their research designs
  • Master students' capabilities to develop and implement various research strategies
  • Acquaint students with the selected method of research (Ethnography, QCA, Text-as-Data or Process Tracing) and their applications
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Enumerates and characterizes the basic elements of research
  • Formulates and justifies the research design and its key components
  • Able to select and overview scientific literature to characterize a research field
  • Compares and characterises the basic research strategies
  • Able to perform empirical data analysis using the selected method
  • Able to perform data collection and preparation for the analysis using the selected research method
  • Able to interpret the results of the research using the selected method, highlighting its strengths and weaknesses
  • Able to formulate and present results of the research based on the selected method
  • Able to develop a research design and research strategy using the selected method
  • Able to define the basic principles and peculiarities of the selected research method (ethnography, QCA, text mining, process tracing)
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Seminar 1.1. Basics of the Research. Research Questions.
    The basics of research and inference in political science. Formal requirements to the course papers. Plagiarism. Algorithm and strategy of research. Research question types. Hints for “good” research questions.
  • Seminar 1.2. Selecting and Overviewing Literature.
    Refining and framing the research question. Literature selection methods. Overview of the sources of scientific literature.
  • Seminar 1.3. Literature Reviews
    Annotated bibliography. Types and strategies of the literature review. Defining puzzles, research gaps and academic debates. Motivation and state-of-the-art.
  • Seminar 1.4. Developing a Research Design
    Specifying the research design. Theories, frameworks and models. Hypotheses and variables. Conceptualization, operationalization and measurement.
  • Seminar 1.5. Research Strategies, Methods and Data
    Research strategies. Case studies, small-N and large-N strategies. Qualitative and quantitative data and research methods: pros and cons. Possible sources of the empirical data.
  • Chapter 2.1
    2.1.1:Introduction to ethnography: Ethnography in the family of “qualitative” methods. Ethnographic traditions and schools in anthropology and sociology (British, American and French research traditions). Principal research methods: (participant) observation, fieldnote writing, ethnographic interviewing. Methodology. Role of the researcher: “ethnographic comportment”. Sensibility. (Self)-reflexivity. Ethnographic immersion (and the study of politics). 2.1.2 :Introduction: The logic of sets according to Ch. Ragin. Necessary and sufficient conditions. Advantages and assumptions of QCA.; 2.1.3: Introduction. Digital Footprint Data. Structure of Scientific Articles.: Consideration of various data sources in digital environment. The role of data in scientific articles. 2.1.4. Introduction. What is process-tracing? This is an introductory session during which we will talk about the structure of the course. The following questions will be addressed: What is process tracing? Where do we apply it? During this class we will discuss core components of the method and how they are going to be applied.
  • Chapter 2.2.
    2.1.1:Two traditions of (political) ethnography: Interpretivist vs. (neo)positivist epistemology. Standpoints and worldviews. Realist tradition. Advancing truth-claims. Interpretive tradition. Post-modern anthropological thinking on ethnography. Limits of interpretation. 2.1.2 :Boolean Algebra in Comparative Analysis: Boolean algebra, conjunction, disjunction procedures, logical OR and AND. Truth tables. Variables’ presentation.; 2.1.3: Data Collection: structural data (Data Miner): Data Miner is a Google Chrome extension that helps you scrape data from web pages and into a CSV file or Excel spreadsheet. URL: https://data-miner.io/ 2.1.4. Debates about Case Studies and Case-based Methods: This session aims to touch on core philosophical foundations of the method. We will discuss what is the difference between case-based and variance-based approaches, and the effect this debate has on the way how we do research.
  • Chapter 2.3.
    2.1:Two traditions of (political) ethnography: “Ethnography lite”. Studying “high” and “low” politics through ethnography. Ethnography in policy studies. Ethnography in post-colonial and (critical) development studies. 2.2 :The Power of QCA in Political Science (classification, hypotheses): Classifications, hypotheses. Minimization procedures. Causal mechanisms. Using software for QCA.; 2.3: Data Collection: SNS data (Popsters): Popsters helps to compare and measure efficiency of posts of any page that you are interested in. URL: https://popsters.us/ 2.4. What are we tracing?: The goal of this session is to discuss what causal mechanisms are and how we approach them from the temporal and contextual perspectives.
  • Chapter 2.4.
    2.1:Ethnographic research design: Practices of ethnographic research. Strategy and improvisation. Emic/etic. The field. Making research choices. 2.2 :The Power of QCA in Political Science (classification, hypotheses): Calibration, the necessity of exogenous criteria. Choosing variables.; 2.3: Introduction: Text Mining. Features of text data.: Lexicon. Frequency analysis of texts. Zipf's law. Data preparation. Morphological analysis. Stamping and Lemmatization. 2.4: Systems Approach to Studying Mechanisms: There are a number of scholars who develop a systems approach to process tracing as a method, where the theoretical mechanism (or mechanisms) linking causes and outcomes are unpacked explicitly into their constituent parts. The core analytical focus is on the activities that link parts of a causal process together.
  • Chapter 2.5.
    2.1:Ethnographic research design: Major “stumbling blocks” in the research process: (1) selecting a research topic; (2) identifying research locations/settings/sites; (3) data collection: positionality, fieldnote writing and interviewing; (4) data analysis: techniques and sensibilities. 2.2 :The Power of QCA in Political Science (classification, hypotheses): Working with reminders, controversies and missings.; 2.3: Feature engineering: Regular expressions & Text classification.: Feature engineering. Prediction of attributes by words and features. Algorithms of classification. Naive Bayes. Regression Models. 2.4. Systems Approach to Studying Mechanisms: There are a number of scholars who develop a systems approach to process tracing as a method, where the theoretical mechanism (or mechanisms) linking causes and outcomes are unpacked explicitly into their constituent parts. The core analytical focus is on the activities that link parts of a causal process together.
  • Chapter 2.6.
    2.1:In the field: Discovering the field: problems of getting in and out of (multiple) fieldwork locations. Methods planned and methods used: adjusting research strategy in the field 2.2 :Testing Hypotheses in R: Calibrating and recalibrating data. Rules of establishing thresholds.; 2.3: Identifying Characteristic Words: Log-likelihood.: Compares the appearance of a word indifferent collections. 2.4. Studying Mechanisms Empirically (I) Bayesian approaches: Many scholars have argued that we can utilize Bayesian reasoning as a logical tool to evaluate what the correspondence between predicted and found evidence can tell us about mechanisms. During this session we will address Bayesian logic and how it helps us ask the right questions when evaluating what empirical material can work as a sufficient evidence in our analysis.
  • Chapter 2.7.
    2.1:In the field: “No result” as a result. Problems of access. Relationships to/with “informants”. Feedback. Fear. Surprise. Safety and security. 2.2 :Testing Hypotheses in R: Testing hypotheses practice 1; 2.3: Identifying Characteristic Words: Log-likelihood.: Log-Likelihood: G-squared. Effect size: Log odds ratio.2.4. Studying Mechanisms Empirically (II) Non-Bayesian Approaches: There are two main non-Bayesian approaches to making inferences in process tracing, using either necessary/sufficiency logics, or counterfactuals. This sesseion aims to cover those and compare them with the mechanisms discussed at the previous class.
  • Chapter 2.8.
    2.1:Writing up ethnographic methodologies: Presenting ethnographic methodologies. Contextualizing the researcher and the experiences of research (in the field). Description of research steps, context and conditions of the fieldwork. Feminist research. Controversies. 2.2 :Testing Hypotheses in R: Testing hypotheses practice 2; 2.3: Collocations & PMI: Co-occurrence. N-grams. Methods for detecting collocations. “bag of words” model. Collocation measure. logDice. Pointwise Mutual Information Of Pairs Of Items (PMI). 2.4. Case Selection: Process tracing case studies enable inferences about causal processes to be made about the case being studied. Generalization requires some form of comparison between the studied case (or cases) and other cases. During this session we will address how do we choose and justify case selection for process tracing.
  • Chapter 2.10.
    2.1:Writing up research findings: Ethnographic writing process: “organizational approach” and “evocative approach”. Data organization. Research reporting. Theme development. Empirical precision and its absence. 2.2 :Testing Hypotheses in R: Testing hypotheses practice 4; 2.3: Semantic Networks and SNA: SNA practice 1 2.4. Building theorized mechanisms: During this session we will discuss how we can use empirical material to build theorized causal mechanisms
  • Chapter 2.9
    2.1:Writing up ethnographic methodologies: Ethnographic self-consciousness: partiality, reflexivity, critical standpoint, collaborative and action research. Examples of methodological discussions from (political) ethnographies. 2.2 :Testing Hypotheses in R: Testing hypotheses practice 3; 2.3: Semantic Networks and SNA: Semantic Networks. Latent semantic analysis (LSA). 2.4. Working with evidence: This session introduces source criticism and the practical challenges in working with empirical evidence in process tracing. We focus upon archival material, elite interviews and secondary historical sources. This includes questions such as how we should evaluate bias, what a ‘good’ source is, and how we deal with bias in secondary historical material.
  • Chapter 2.11
    2.1:Writing up research findings: Example selection. Vignettes. Extended examples. Linking ethnography and theory. 2.2 :A Variety of QCA Techniques: MVQSA, FSQCA.: MVQSA, FSQCA; working with non-dichotomous variables.; 2.3: Semantic Networks and SNA: SNA practice 2 2.4. Combining Process Tracing with Other Methods: During this session we will talk about the use process tracing within mixed methods methodologies, will address some successful cases in literature and brainstorm on other potential implications,
  • Chapter 2.12.
    2.1:Writing up research findings: The author in the text. Sensibilities. Caveats. 2.2 :Fuzzy Sets: Working with fuzzy sets. Measures of Consistency and Coverage.; 2.3: Topic Modeling (LDA): The operationalization of the "topic" concept as a probability distribution vocabulary. Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA).2.4. Examples of Applying Process Tracing in Practice (I) Comparative Politics: There is a large amount of variation in how process tracing methods are used. During the following three sessions we will explore particular implications of process tracing withing different disciplinary domains.
  • Chapter 2.13
    2.1:Discussion and evaluation: Research paradigms and evaluative standards. “Good work” in ethnography. Evaluation and accountability: credibility, coherence, transparency, impact, worthiness. 2.2 :Fuzzy Sets: Fuzzy sets practice; 2.3: Topic Modeling (LDA): LDA practice 2.4. Examples of Applying Process Tracing in Practice (II) International Relations
  • Chapter 2.14
    2.1:Discussion and evaluation: Research “objects” versus research “stakeholders”. Researched community and feedback. 2.2 :Presentation of Students’ Projects: Students are expected to present their own projects based on their own data and results obtained from the analysis in QCA GUI in R.; 2.3: Presentation of Students’ Projects: Students are expected to present group projects based on their own text data and results obtained from the analysis in R. 2.4. Examples of Applying Process Tracing in Practice (III) Policy Studies
  • Chapter 2.15
    2.1:Discussion and evaluation: Research ethics. Collaborative spirit in ethnography of politics/policy. 2.2 :Presentation of Students’ Projects: Students are expected to present their own projects based on their own data and results obtained from the analysis in QCA GUI in R.; 2.3: Presentation of Students’ Projects: Students are expected to present group projects based on their own text data and results obtained from the analysis in R. 2.4. Using Process Tracing in practice: This session will address the issues that students might have while preparing their course paper.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class participation
    Participation in seminar workshops and contribution to seminar discussions, based on the mandatory readings. In-class participation is evaluated throughout the whole course, hence 25 per cent of the grade comes from the first part of the course and 75 per cent – from the second part.
  • non-blocking Final Paper
    A written group assignment (can be done individually upon request from a student), evaluating students’ progress during the second part of the course. The content of the assignment depends on which track from part 2 is chosen.
  • non-blocking Research Proposal
    As an outcome of the first part of the course, students are supposed to write a research proposal, which outlines the basic elements of the 3rd year course paper.
  • non-blocking Examination
    The exam is held in a written (test) format and is related to (1) the first part and (2) the second part of the course, depending on the chosen method
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.25 * Examination + 0.25 * Final Paper + 0.25 * In-class participation + 0.25 * Research Proposal
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences : a pluralist perspective / ed. by Donatella della Porta . (2008). Cambridge [u.a.]: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.283822104
  • Bamman, D., Eisenstein, J., & Schnoebelen, T. (2014). Gender identity and lexical variation in social media[The resear]. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 18(2), 135–160. https://doi.org/10.1111/josl.12080
  • Beach, D. V. (DE-588)1079073728, (DE-627)840192312, (DE-576)185046533, aut. (2019). Process-tracing methods foundations and guidelines Derek Beach and Rasmus Brun Pedersen.
  • Beach, D., & Pedersen, R. B. (2018). Selecting appropriate cases when tracing causal mechanisms. https://doi.org/10.1177/0049124115622510
  • Blatter, J. (DE-588)112239293, (DE-627)52686365X, (DE-576)166992941, aut. (2012). Designing case studies explanatory approaches in small-N research Joachim Blatter and Markus Haverland.
  • Christine Trampusch, & Bruno Palier. (2016). Between X and Y: how process tracing contributes to opening the black box of causality. New Political Economy, 5, 437. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2015.1134465
  • Derek Beach, & Rasmus Brun Pedersen. (2016). Causal Case Study Methods : Foundations and Guidelines for Comparing, Matching, and Tracing. University of Michigan Press.
  • Falleti, T. G., & Lynch, J. (2006). Context and Causal Heterogeneity in Historical Analysis. Conference Papers —— American Political Science Association, 1–36.
  • Geddes, B. (DE-588)171415787, (DE-576)132211866. (2003). Paradigms and sand castles : theory building and research design in comparative politics / Barbara Geddes. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.104638176
  • I. Rohlfing. (2012). Case Studies and Causal Inference : An Integrative Framework. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Levy, J. S. (2015). Counterfactuals, Causal Inference, and Historical Analysis. Security Studies, 24(3), 378–402. https://doi.org/10.1080/09636412.2015.1070602
  • Mahoney, J. (2003). Long-Run Development and the Legacy of Colonialism in Spanish America. American Journal of Sociology, 109(1), 50–106. https://doi.org/10.1086/378454
  • Nguyen, D., Gravel, R., Trieschnigg, D., & Meder, T. (2013). “How old do you think I am?” A study of language and age in Twitter. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.E50BF78
  • Però, D., Wright, S., & Shore, C. (2011). Policy Worlds : Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power. New York: Berghahn Books. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=416088
  • Ragin, C. C. (2013). The Comparative Method : Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Oakland, California: University of California Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=784602
  • 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
  • Silge, J., & Robinson, D. (2017). Text Mining with R : A Tidy Approach (Vol. First edition). Sebastopol, CA: O’Reilly Media. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=nlebk&AN=1533983

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Bekmurzaev, N., Lottholz, P., & Meyer, J. (2018). Navigating the safety implications of doing research and being researched in Kyrgyzstan: cooperation, networks and framing. Central Asian Survey, 37(1), 100–118. https://doi.org/10.1080/02634937.2017.1419165
  • Beyer, J., Rasanayagam, J., & Reeves, M. (2013). Ethnographies of the State in Central Asia : Performing Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=677473
  • Bliesemann de Guevara, B. (2014). On methodology and myths: exploring the International Crisis Group’s organisational culture. Third World Quarterly, 35(4), 616–633. https://doi.org/10.1080/01436597.2014.924064
  • Collier, D. (2011). Understanding Process Tracing. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.B81C95DE
  • Derek Beach, & Ingo Rohlfing. (2016). Integrating cross-case analyses and process tracing in set-theoretic research: Strategies and parameters of debate. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.4219737
  • Fairfield, T., & Charman, A. E. (2017). Explicit Bayesian Analysis for Process Tracing: Guidelines, Opportunities, and Caveats. https://doi.org/10.1017/pan.2017.14
  • Gorgadze Aleksey, & Kolycheva Alina. (n.d.). Mapping Ideas: Semantic Analysis of “Postnauka” Materials. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsclk&AN=edsclk.https%3a%2f%2fcyberleninka.ru%2farticle%2fn%2fmapping-ideas-semantic-analysis-of-postnauka-materials
  • James Mahoney. (2012). The Logic of Process Tracing Tests in the Social Sciences. Sociological Methods & Research, 4, 570.
  • Judge, W. Q., Fainshmidt, S., & Lee Brown III, J. (2014). Which model of capitalism best delivers both wealth and equality? Journal of International Business Studies, 45(4), 363–386. https://doi.org/10.1057/jibs.2014.13
  • Levy, J. S. (2008). Case Studies: Types, Designs, and Logics of Inference. Conflict Management & Peace Science, 25(1), 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/07388940701860318
  • MacKay, J., & Levin, J. (2015). Hanging Out in International Politics: Two Kinds of Explanatory Political Ethnography for IR. International Studies Review, 17(2), 163–188. https://doi.org/10.1111/misr.12208
  • Mario Bunge. (2004). How Does It Work? The Search for Explanatory Mechanisms.
  • 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
  • Munzert, S. (2014). Automated Data Collection with R : A Practical Guide to Web Scraping and Text Mining. HobokenChichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=878670
  • Seawright, J., & Gerring, J. (2008). Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options. Political Research Quarterly, 61(2), 294–308. https://doi.org/10.1177/1065912907313077
  • Shesterinina, A. V. (DE-588)1182457673, (DE-627)1662760264, aut. (2019). Ethics, empathy, and fear in research on violent conflict Anastasia Shesterinina, Department of Politics, University of Sheffield.