SPS/04 - 6 CFU - 2° Semester

Teaching Staff


Course Structure

The course offers the opportunity to develop the ability to set up and start a research project with an eye to the preparation of the master's thesis. In eight sessions, the student is trained to build the essentials of the research project s/he chooses. Each session has two classroom meetings and, in between, the individual work segment. At the Wednesday meeting, the student receives instructions on how to set up the research project item. In the home segment, the student makes up the research project item using the recommended book and other sources of her/his choice and fills out the session template (provided by the instructor) that sends to the instructor ( by Sunday. In the Tuesday meeting, the realization of the research project item by the student is commented.

Detailed Course Content


15 March, Welcome and Orientation

The course program and organization are presented along with introductory notions about methodology and scientific knowledge.

16 & 22 March, Session 1 – Methodology, scientific knowledge, and the research process.

Focus is on ‘knowledge’ in scientific research and on research work as the process of testing, building, or enlarging existing scientific knowledge.

Student assignment:

23 & 29 March, Session 2 - I want to know why … so my RQ is …!

In this Session, you make the first step of the research process. It consists in selecting the issue that intrigues you a lot and generates the theory-based question on which you build the research project.

Student assignment:

30 March & 5 April, Session 3 – Hunting for and mapping the existing knowledge. The LR!

In this session, you learn how to do the literature review, that is, how to search and organize the scientific products that are relevant to your RQ.

Student assignment:

06 & 12 April, Session 4 - Why that? My theory is …, so my H/s) is/are …?

You have in mind the answer to your RQ. A sound argument and strong evidence make you sure that what you have in mind is the right answer to the question the others will buy. Briefly, you must express your theory and your hypothesis/es that is/are consistent with the theory and testable. Only the positively tested hypothesis demonstrates the reliability of your answer and theory.

Student assignment:

20 & 26 April, Session 5 – How can I demonstrate it scientifically? The RD!

You get to the crucial step, the Research Design. Outline the way for demonstrating that relevant facts and data confirm your hypothesis/es. In other terms, decide which data you need, organize the data collection, and select the method(s) that best serve the analysis for testing the hypothesis/es. Tip: commensurate the research design with the resources and time at your disposal.

Student assignment:

27 & 28 April, Session 6 - By qualitative testing?

Social scientists use a lot of methods for testing hypotheses. Qualitative, non-numerical methods of testing fit well to many research projects. Check whether your research fits to be tested by means of qualitative methods.

Student assignment:

03 & 04 May, Session 7 - By quantitative testing?

Measurement and quantitative analysis are the hypothesis testing tools preferred by many political scientists. It is worth considering the use of quantitative methods for giving a twist to your project.

Student assignment:

10 & 11 May, Session 8 – Finally, write it all down and advertise the product!

Your research work is a contribution, maybe a valuable contribution to the enlargement of scientific knowledge about the theme of interest. Think about how to call the attention of the wider public towards your product.

Student assignment:

17 May – Game over!

Look back and assess what you did and what you have got from the course.

Textbook Information

The recommended book can be chosen from the following

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