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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Niall F O Murchu
SIS 511
Seattle Campus

Research Design and Methods for International Studies

Review of the approaches to posing and answering research questions in the disciplines affiliated with international studies. Explores epistemological approaches and associated methodologies to prepare students to effectively read across the literature of international studies, develop their own research design based on a research question, and write a research proposal. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course introduces students to some of the basic conceptual problems that must be faced in designing a research project and in undertaking comparative social research. The aim is to provide sufficient grounding in research design and the comparative method to undertake original research in SIS 512. The class begins with books explicitly focused on methodology. We then examine the conceptual underpinnings of key works on social and economic change, and juxtapose works using different approaches: rationality, structure, and culture. The overall goal is to make students self-conscious about the "Cases" they plan to study and the phenomena they wish to examine and explain.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course will be a seminar. The instructor will lead discussion for the first sessions to focus on basic concepts. Thereafter, students will lead discussion in turn.

Recommended preparation

Keep up with the reading, attend class, and contribute to discussion. The very eager may wish to tackle the Tilly's "Big Structures..." or Ragin's "Comparative Method" before the quarter.

Class assignments and grading

There will be four short papers. The fourth will be a rewrite of an earlier paper, in light of the last week's reading. Student's are encouraged to link their reflections on course readings to their own research plans.

Participation 40% 4 Papers @ 15% each 60%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by M Jane Meyerding
Date: 10/16/2000