The main goal is to prepare the students, and provide them with basic skills, to undertake rudimentary social science research and inquiry with a special emphasis on questions in the area of international studies. Particular emphasis is put on the technique of theory construction with an aim to explain social phenomena.
The course will provide the students a first contact with how to use theory, data and methods in a coherent way to enable a systematic study of social phenomena. The course will show how research questions can be turned into theory. Theories motivate hypotheses which in turn can be contrasted by means of collection of empirical evidence and data. We aim to show how new or better evidence shape theories, and how theories also discipline the inquiry into the social world by affecting measurement instruments, or by focussing the attention on specific types of evidence. We will discuss what concepts and measurement means, what guides measurement, and the problems of various sorts of evidence and the alternative research designs involved (experimental, comparative historical, statistical). We will then elaborate on how evidence informs the development of theory and hypotheses with a view to make causal claims that can aid policy making and policy strategies at all levels of society.
The course contains three main parts 1; Research Building Blocks, 2) Research and Causality, and 3) the Research Process and Presentation. Each Part contain 4-5 subsections, each of which will be subject to a weekly lecture and applied workshops with practical exercises.
A total of 14 different sessions are scheduled as follows
SESSION 1. PART I: RESEARCH BUILDING BLOCKS: Introduction to Social Science Research, a Unified Framework.
SESSION 2 PART I: RESEARCH BUILDING BLOCKS: Arguments: Descriptive, Causal, and Others
SESSION 3 PART I: RESEARCH BUILDING BLOCKS: Concepts and Measures
SESSION 4 PART I: RESEARCH BUILDING BLOCKS: Analyses
SESSION 5 PART II CAUSALITY: Causal Frameworks
SESSION 6 PART II CAUSALITY: Causal Hypotheses and Analyses
SESSION 7 PART II CAUSALITY: Experimental Design
SESSION 8 PART II CAUSALITY: Large N Observational Design
SESSION 9 PART II CAUSALITY: Case Study Design
SESSION 10 PART III PROCESS AND PRESENTATION: Reading, reviewing, and Brainstorming
SESSION 11 PART III PROCESS AND PRESENTATION: Data gathering
SESSION 12 PART III PROCESS AND PRESENTATION: Writing
SESSION 13 PART III PROCESS AND PRESENTATION: Speaking
SESSION 14 PART III PROCESS AND PRESENTATION: Ethics