Three Assignments 30%. Three times during the semester, students will be given a short assignment that will be due at 10 a.m. the day of the following seminar. Assignments will pertain to the readings for that week and, as a general rule, will ask students to provide illustrations of how they might apply the principles of research design and various methods discussed that week to their own research project. Students will be expected to work either individually or in a group and should come to class prepared to discuss and critique the assignments/readings for that seminar.
Research Paper 45%. This is the main requirement for the course. The paper will serve as an important exercise in how to design a social science research proposal and will hopefully serve as the basis of the dissertation prospectus that will be submitted in June. For those who plan to conduct empirical research in their dissertations, the paper should contain (1) the central research question(s), (2) the literature and/or debate it seeks to address, (3) the argument or theory/hypotheses, (4) the methodology to be used in the project, (5) case selection criteria, and (6) a plan for data collection and analysis that will serve to answer the research question(s). For those who are conducting political theory projects, the paper should contain (1) the central question, (2) an explanation for why this question is interesting and important, (3) a description of the question is—empirical, normative, conceptual, interpretive, or some mixture of these, (4) an explanation of how the question will be answered—including a literature review, a discussion of the method(s) to be used, and why this method is appropriate, and (5) an account of how the project will be broken down into manageable units. Students should consult with me about their paper at least once during the semester.
Class Participation 25% (15% attendance and class participation; 10% presentation). Students will be expected to attend all the seminars and contribute to class discussions. Students will also be expected to give a five minute presentation of their work during one of the seminars (the presentation makes up half of the participation grade). Since I will be keeping speakers to strict time limits, it pays to time the presentation in advance.