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Regular version of the site

Research Seminar

2022/2023
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
3
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
2 year, 1-3 module

Instructors

Course Syllabus

Abstract

The primary aim of the course is to complement other methodological courses by offering a platform for the practice of social science research. Furthermore, a specific part of the course is dedicated to the introduction of case study research designs, methods, and techniques. The course consists of three main parts. The first (sessions 1-3) aims to deepen the students’ conceptual command in certain areas of positivistic research, focusing on epistemology, causality, trade-offs and pitfalls of research, etc. The second part (sessions 4-12) addresses the theory and practice of positivistic case study research. In this regard, the key issues will be: definition of a ‘case’; case selection strategies; comparative case studies; longitudinal case studies; mixed-method research. In the final, third part of the course (sessions 13-20), the students will work with quantitative framework exploring the basics of linear, logistic, and count models. They will discuss the scope and limits of the quantitative methods and apply them to real-world problems. They will also learn how to use R statistical software for data manipulation, visualisation, and statistical analysis.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to complement other methodological courses by offering a platform for the practice of social science research
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • have a firm grasp on the essential practical guidelines of research design and planning
  • deepen their knowledge of qualitative data collection, with a particular focus on legal and archival sources
  • able to design rigorous case study research, with legitimate academic objectives and feasible logistical plans
  • understand basic statistical concepts and the nature of statistical inference
  • understand the differences between different variable types and distributions
  • understand the general quantitative analysis workflow
  • able to use the R programming language for data manipulation, visualisation, and analysis
  • able to produce original research based on quantitative framework
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Rationales for comparative political research; major traditions in comparative politics
  • Causal vs descriptive inferences; units of analysis and units of observation
  • Trade-offs and pitfalls in comparative political research
  • Descriptive case studies
  • Comparative case studies
  • Workshop session
  • Longitudinal case studies
  • Mixed-method research
  • Data collection and logistics of case study research
  • Presentation workshops (3 sessions)
  • The logic of statistical inference in social sciences
  • Applying statistical inference to real-world problems
  • Basics of statistical inference
  • Regression anatomy
  • Applied multiple regression in R
  • Regression pitfalls
  • Applied logistic regression in R
  • Count models in R
  • Interpreting and reporting the output
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking methodological exercise
    The methodological exercise is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their practical grasp on the various case study methods and techniques through the critical assessment of a published work, relying on the mandatory readings and class discussions. The exercise shall not exceed 1,000 words, including foot/endnotes, excluding bibliography.
  • non-blocking case study presentation
    The case study presentation should outline a research proposal involving one of the discussed case study methods. The presentation should touch upon the following: 1) research question, 2) identification of units of analysis and units of observation, 3) case selection, 4) expected research outcome, and 5) sources of data and data collection strategies. The presentation should be approximately 10 minutes-long and followed by a constructive and collegial class discussion.
  • non-blocking class participation 1
    In the class participation component, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade: ● frequency and concision of class participations ● originality of class contribution ● connection between preparation materials and class contributions ● contribution to class discussion dynamics ● participation in maintaining an inspiring class environment
  • blocking mid-term exam
    Participation in the next block of the course is dependent on the successful completion of the mid-term exam; in this regard, GMT shall be at least 4 (‘satisfactory’). In case a student fails to gain at least a ‘satisfactory’ grade, one exam retake is provided. The mid-term exam will take place at the end of the second module of the academic year. The exam will last for 80 minutes, and will be conducted in a written, closed-book format. The exam will assess the conceptual command of students, their familiarity with the mandatory readings, and their ability to address methodological problems in a practical way.
  • non-blocking quizzes
    Quizzes to test students' comprehension of the week’s assigned material will be taken periodically in the third part of the course.
  • non-blocking research paper
    By the end of the third module, the students must deliver a short research paper using their quantitative skills. The paper should address a real-world research question and employ at least one of the quantitative techniques explored in the module. The paper should be 2500-3000 words long.
  • non-blocking class participation 2
    In the class participation component, the following qualities can result in a maximal grade: ● frequency and concision of class participations ● originality of class contribution ● connection between preparation materials and class contributions ● contribution to class discussion dynamics ● participation in maintaining an inspiring class environment
  • non-blocking final exam
    The final exam will take place at the end of the third module of the academic year. It will include working with the dataset, building, and interpreting the statistical model, and writing a short conclusion. The exam’s duration is 90 minutes, the students will be allowed to use their laptops and notes in order to complete the task.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2021/2022 4th module
    Attestation was conducted in 2021-2022 a.y.
  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.3 * methodological exercise + 0.1 * class participation 1 + 0.3 * mid-term exam + 0.3 * case study presentation
  • 2022/2023 3rd module
    0.1 * class participation 2 + 0.3 * quizzes + 0.3 * research paper + 0.3 * final exam
  • 2024/2025 3rd module
    To be determined in 24-25 a.y.
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Bob Hancké. (2009). Intelligent Research Design : A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences. OUP Oxford.
  • Todd Landman, & Edzia Carvalho. (2017). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics : An Introduction: Vol. Fourth edition. Routledge.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Henry E. Brady, & David Collier. (2010). Rethinking Social Inquiry : Diverse Tools, Shared Standards: Vol. 2nd ed. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  • Janet M. Box-Steffensmeier, Henry E. Brady, & David Collier. (2008). The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. OUP Oxford.
  • King, G., Verba, S., & Keohane, R. O. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry : Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=329740