Prospectus Seminar

Course Description: 

The objective of this seminar is to help preparing PhD dissertation proposals and think through related issues of career choice, research strategy, planning, and methodology. The course is structured around the research interests of probationary doctoral students, who present their prospectus plans in class, work together in identifying key issues in developing viable research plans, and revise their prospectus plans to reflect any feedback and insight gained in this process. The in-class discussions are to focus on the choice and formulation of the research question and the methodology; their justification in terms of relevance, timeliness, and tractability; implications in terms of workload, schedule and resources required, as well as the side-benefits offered; the translation of the research question into a manageable research agenda via hypotheses or other means; the identification of appropriate research methods; concept formation and measurement; the use of productivity enhancing tools; and last but not least presentation and publication strategy.

Learning Outcomes: 

 Ability to conceive, elaborate and defend a research plan; think through its implications for career planning, work schedule and possible side projects 

 Reason analytically, applying abstract models to complex empirical situations and engage with different intellectual traditions, subfields, research designs and methodologies in the social sciences 

 Ability to design, implement and write up a high quality original academic or applied research in a rigorous and consistent manner, and of sufficient quality to merit publication in peer-reviewed journals 

 Ability for effective oral presentation of scholarly thoughts, developing listening and discussion skills with initiative and autonomy in various professional contexts 

 Ability to harmonize the research plan with the empirical findings, to foresee the difficulties of empirical research, to integrate unexpected results