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

Research Seminar "Methodology and Research Design"

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Compulsory course
1 year, 1, 2 module


Course Syllabus


The course offers an introduction to the practice of social scientific research on a graduate level. Considering the interdisciplinary character of the MA program and the diverse background of the student body, the course aims to familiarize students with international standards of linking empirical and conceptual approaches, data-collection, academic writing, and communicating research results.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • to familiarize students with international standards of linking empirical and conceptual approaches, data-collection, academic writing, and communicating research results
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • will be able to confidently mobilize external sources in their research, fully aware of the boundaries between sound academic writing and plagiarism or academic dishonesty
  • will have a firm grasp on the essential practical guidelines of research design and planning.
  • grasps the essential genres of academic writing
  • will be able to effectively communicate their research results
  • becomes familiar with the essential steps of academic publishing procedures
  • applies research skills outside academia will be introduced
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • The fundamental features of academic research and genres of academic writing; research ethics and the use of supporting tools.
  • From literature review to research question
  • From research question to research design
  • Conceptualization and measurement; constructing case studies
  • Critical junctures in research design; trade-offs and pitfalls
  • Data collection
  • Presentation workshop (4 sessions)
  • Position paper
  • Literature review
  • Presentation
  • Written exercises
  • The next academic year (2024-2025)
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking position paper
    The position paper shall be a problem-based, argumentative text demonstrating the student’s capacity to identify academically relevant problems, finding avenues to tackle it, and communicating her/his arguments in a persuasive, transparent, and succinct manner. The position paper should also demonstrate the student’s firm understanding on the differences between epistemic and methodological traditions. The position paper’s extent shall not exceed 1,000 words, including foot/endnotes, excluding the bibliography.
  • non-blocking literature review
    The literature review should be a narrative text demonstrating the student’s ability to identify the relevant sources for her/his research, to identify various positions and debates in the relevant literature, and to situate her/his own research within these debates. The literature review’s extent shall not exceed 600 words, including foot/endnotes, excluding the bibliography.
  • non-blocking presentation
    The presentation should be a preliminary proposal on the student’s major research project in the first year, the term paper. Beyond presenting their works, students will also have to comment on other research proposals in a constructive fashion. The oral presentation shall be max. 10 minutes long.
  • non-blocking written exercise
    The written tasks are short exercises, following up on specific aspects of a given class, e.g. discerning cases of academic dishonesty and plagiarism, transgressing boundaries in academic genres, etc. Depending on the discussions within the class sessions, 2-4 of these will be assigned throughout the semester, always touching upon specific practical matters.
  • non-blocking class participation
    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
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • 2023/2024 2nd module
    0.2 * position paper + 0.2 * literature review + 0.3 * presentation + 0.2 * written exercise + 0.1 * class participation
  • 2024/2025 2nd module
    To be determined at the 2024-2025 academic year.


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Hancké, B. (2009). Intelligent Research Design : A Guide for Beginning Researchers in the Social Sciences. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=299002
  • 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

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Eco, U., Farina, G., & Mongiat Farina, C. (2015). How to Write a Thesis. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=963778
  • 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.
  • Todd Landman. (2003). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics : An Introduction: Vol. 2nd ed. Routledge.