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Regular version of the site

Core Seminar "Logic of Inquiry and Key Issues in International Studies"

2023/2024
Academic Year
ENG
Instruction in English
3
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
When:
2 year, 2 module

Instructor

Course Syllabus

Abstract

This core seminar aims to familiarize students of the educational trajectory “International Politics of Eurasia” with relevant approaches to and tools for academic and policy-oriented research in International Studies (International Relations, Global and Transnational Governance, Critical Development Studies). This will enable greater coherence of the educational process, set grounds for knowledge and understanding of the state of the art in the field, and help students to improve their professional communication skills. The seminar will focus on major scholarly discussions on logics of inquiry and key issues in International Studies. It will scrutinize various methodological paradigms and methods used for research on specific topics.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To familiarize students of the educational trajectory “International Politics of Eurasia” with relevant approaches to and tools for academic and policy-oriented research in International Studies (International Relations, Global and Transnational Governance, Critical Development Studies).
  • To scrutinize various methodological paradigms and methods used for research on specific topics in International Studies.
  • To enable greater coherence of the educational process, set grounds for knowledge and understanding of the state of the art in the field, and help students to improve their professional communication skills.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Knows methodological approaches to and tools for academic and policy-oriented research in International Studies
  • Knows the state of the art and key issues in the field of International Studies
  • Understands major scholarly discussions on logics of inquiry in International Studies
  • Understands major theoretical debates in International Studies
  • Identifies and justifies methodological approaches appropriate for their own research in International Studies
  • Identifies specific research methods (techniques, tools) that fit selected methodologies
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Course Overview and Introduction. Paradigms and Research Traditions in International Studies
  • Logics of Inquiry in International Studies: Methodological Approaches and Controversies
  • Theories of International Relations: "Mainstream" and "Marginal"
  • Methodological Turns and Use of Methods in International Studies: Learning from "Best Practices"
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Methodological Reflections Paper
    You will need to write a paper (2000-2500 words) that will identify and justify methodological approach(es) appropriate for your research aims. This will need to be a paper in which you both explicate your methodological choice and critically reflect upon it. Ideally, it would bridge your methodological (and, if appropriate, theoretical) framework with prospective research design and, more specifically, research methods and techniques you would plan to rely on.
  • non-blocking Book Methodology Review Paper
    Your assignment is to read a recent book from the field of International Studies and comment on its methodological framework and methods. Write a paper that analyses its research objectives, approaches and methods and present your reflections on the connections between these elements. The paper (approximately 1000-1500 words) is due by December 15. Sign up for review paper (indicating the title of the book you would like to review): via email to the course instructor by the last class of the module 1. The list of books for review paper will be provided at the first class of the course.
  • non-blocking Presentation 2
    Each class in modules 3 and 4 will commence by a group presentation based on the readings assigned for the session. 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 Presentation 3
    Each class in module 1 (from session 2) will commence by a group presentation based on the readings assigned for the session. 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 Presentation 1
    Each class in modules 1 and 2 (starting from session 2) will commence by a group presentation based on the readings assigned for the session. 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 In-class participation 1
    Assessment will be based on attendance, preparation of readings, participation in class discussion in modules 1 and 2 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 In-class participation 2
    Assessment will be based on attendance, preparation of readings, participation in class discussion in modules 3 and 4 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 4
    Each class in module 2 will commence by a group presentation based on the readings assigned for the session. 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 In-class participation 3
    Assessment will be based on attendance, preparation of readings, participation in class discussion in module 1 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 In-class participation 4
    Students are expected to attend each seminar and regularly participate in discussions. The instructor grades the participation during the seminars based on the quality of answers, demonstration of engagement with the assigned readings and home tasks, and overall quantitative involvement in the in-class activities.
  • non-blocking Essay
    The students are to write an essay in which they would consider the possibility of taking different ontoepistemological and methodological approaches on their proposed thesis topic and its implications for the research question, conceptualization, the choice of methods, conclusions that would be possible to obtain, their validity (if applicable), etc. For example, the topic is "The Factors of Interstate Militarized Disputes", one can write about how an interpretivist/reflexive scholar would approach this issue, what assumptions behind such a topic statement can be questioned (e.g., state-centrism). If one is going to rely on quantitative methods, they can consider the use of qualitative comparison. The minimal word count is 1000 words. The references style is Chicago, in-text citations. The reference list is not included in the word count.
  • non-blocking Reflection paper
    All students are expected to submit a reflection paper on one of the assigned readings. The paper must succinctly summarize the argument of the article and express the student's position on it. Students are expected to assess the persuasiveness of the argument, explain why they (dis)agree with it, assess the stengths and weaknesses of the article and its contribution to our understanding of the post-Soviet governance and policymaking. The volume of the paper is 700-800 words. excluding footnotes and bibliography. Each 50 words above or below the expected word count will lead to the 1-point grade deduction. The reflection paper must be submitted to the instructor's e-mail before the seminar following the one in which this reading was discussed.
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2022/2023 2nd module
    0.25 * In-class participation 1 + 0.25 * Methodological Reflections Paper + 0.25 * Presentation 2 + 0.25 * Presentation 1
  • 2022/2023 4th module
    0.2 * In-class participation 2 + 0.2 * Presentation 3 + 0.2 * In-class participation 3 + 0.2 * Presentation 4 + 0.2 * Book Methodology Review Paper
  • 2023/2024 2nd module
    0.25 * In-class participation 4 + 0.25 * Reflection paper + 0.5 * Essay
Bibliography

Bibliography

Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Christian Reus-Smit, & Duncan Snidal. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of International Relations: Vol. [Paperback edition.]. OUP Oxford.
  • Jackson, P. T. (2010). The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations : Philosophy of Science and Its Implications for the Study of World Politics. Hoboken: Routledge. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=1214790
  • Sil, R. (DE-588)129445614, (DE-627)39637204X, (DE-576)184228514, aut. (2010). Beyond paradigms analytic eclecticism in the study of world politics Rudra Sil and Peter J. Katzenstein.

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Hay, C. (2016). Good in a crisis: the ontological institutionalism of social constructivism. New Political Economy ; Volume 21, Issue 6, Page 520-535 ; ISSN 1356-3467 1469-9923. https://doi.org/10.1080/13563467.2016.1158800