This course is a survey of basic issues in the research of international relations. This course is aimed primarily at first-year MIS students and second-year DEA students in political science. Through readings, lectures, and assignments, the objectives of the course are to give students an introduction to the research skills involved in political analysis and to aid them in developing a research design for pieces of personal research. Students will achieve a solid understanding of the fundamental logic of social science research, but will not achieve proficiency in any specific research method.
Topics for the course include basic questions of the philosophy of social science, the role of theories, the construction of research questions, issues of selection, validity, reliability, and measurement, and a discussion of a few specific methods and techniques. The readings are a mix of practical guides, discussions of research issues, and examples of the use of various research methods.
In order to prepare assignments and to participate in class discussions, students must do a set of required readings. A reading packet including all those readings is available for purchase at Imprimerie Minute. Additional reading material will be posted on the website of the course (instructor will notify when this is the case).
Given the mixed audience for this year’s class, there will be a dual system of evaluation adapted to students’ different advancement in their study programs. All students are required to write three short assignments during the semester and to submit a more substantive piece of work at the end of the semester. But the nature of these assignments varies:
A) Second year DEA students and PhD students
a) Three short assignments:
Specific instructions for each assignment are found below in this syllabus and/or will be communicated in class. The first two of these assignments are meant to encourage application of the issues discussed in class and in the reading material to the students' research interests. The third one (out of a choice of two) will focus on a current hot topic of research to be disclosed (with material distributed) by the instructor five days before the assignment deadline.
Each assignment is worth 15% of the course grade. Electronic copies of assignments are due to the webmaster of the political science section, Thomas Messerli (email@example.com), AND to the teaching assistant, Andrew Prosser (firstname.lastname@example.org), so that they can be put (password protected) on the website of the course.
b) Research Design Paper (15-20 pages long):
Each student must complete a research design for his or her DEA mémoire. The paper is due on February 23, 2007 and is worth 55% of the course grade.
The research design should include:
||Presentation, discussion, & justification of research question
||Review of relevant literature
||Presentation and discussion of specific hypotheses or arguments, and alternative explanations
||Discussion of data selection
||Discussion of measurement issues
B) First year MIS students:
a) Three short assignments:
The first two are discussion papers on the first two assignments of second year DEA and PhD students. The third (out of a choice of two) assignment is similar to the one required from second year DEA and PhD students (see above). Each of these papers is worth 15% of the course grade.
b) Final class paper (15-20 pages long):
“Mini research-design” paper due on February 23, 2007 and worth 55% of the course grade. It should include:
||Presentation, discussion, & justification of a research question
||Detailed review of existing literature
||Sketch of an original/new argument, hypothesis that could be submitted to empirical evaluation
||Brief discussion of data selection
Note: Please go to the end of the document for schedule of assignments.
October 25, 2006,
Introduction to Course
November 1, 2006,
Variety in Political Research
- Almond, Gabriel and Stephen J Genco 1977. Clouds, Clocks and the Study of Politics World Politics 29(4): 489-522.
- Gary King, Robert Keohane and Sydney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, (Princeton, 1994). Chap. 1
- Gerring, John 2005. Causation. A unified framework for the social sciences. Journal of Theoretical Politics 17(2): 163-198.
- Hall, Peter A. 2003. "Aligning Ontology and Methodology in Comparative Research", in: Mahoney, James and Rueschemeyer, Dietrich (Hrsg.): Comparative Historical Research in the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 373-404.
- Scharpf, Fritz W. 1997. Games Real Actors Play. Actor-Centered Institutionalism in Policy Research. Colorado/Oxford: WestView Press, Chapter 1.
November 8, 2006,
Research Questions and Puzzles
- Zinnes, Dina A. 1980. Three Puzzles in Search of a Researcher. International Studies Quarterly 24 (September): 315-342.
November 15, 2006,
November 22, 2006,
“Model Building” [Concepts, Arguments, and Hypotheses] + Discussion of Assignment #1
- King, Gary, Keohane, Robert O. and Verba, Sidney 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 3.
November 29, 2006,
Data Selection I
- King, Gary, Keohane, Robert O. and Verba, Sidney 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 4.
- Geddes, Barbara 1990. How the Cases you Choose Affect the Answers you Get: Selection Bias in Comparative Politics. Political Analysis 2: 131-150.
December 6, 2006
Data Selection II
- Fearon, James D. 1991. Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science. World Politics 43 (January): 169-95.
- King, Gary and Langche Zeng 2005. When Can History be Our Guide? The Pitfalls of Counterfactual Inference. Harvard University.
- Przeworski, Adam 2004. Institutions Matter? Government and Opposition 39(4): 527-540.
December 13, 2006,
Operationalization and Measurement I
- King, Gary, Keohane, Robert O. and Verba, Sidney 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press, Chapter 5.
- Shively, W. Phillips 1980. The Craft of Political Research. Englewood: Prentice Hall. Ch.4 "Problems of Measurement: Accuracy", Ch. 5 "Problems of Measurement: Precision"
December 20, 2006,
Operationalization and Measurement II + Discussion Assignment #2
- Bowman, Kirk, Fabrice Lehoucq and James Mahoney 2005. Measuring political democracy. Case expertise, data adequacy, and Central America. Comparative Political Studies 38(8): 939-970.
- Murray, C.J.L, Gary King, A.D. Lopez, N. Tomijima and E.G. Krug 2002. Armed Conflict as a Public Health Problem. British Medical Journal 324: 346-349.
January 10, 2007,
- Manheim and Rich, Empirical Political Analysis, Chapter 10 "Content Analysis"
- Mitchell, Robert Edward 1967. The Use of Content Analysis for Explanatory Studies, Public Opinion Quarterly 31 (Summer): 230-241.
- Young, Michael D. and Mark Schafer 1998. Is there method in our madness? Ways of assessing cognition in international relations, Mershon International Studies Review 1(4): 63-96.
- Levi, Ariel and Philip E. Tetlock 1980. A Cognitive Analysis of Japan's 1941 Decision for War, Journal of Conflict Resolution 24 (June): 195-211.
- Laver, Michael and John Garry 2000. Estimating Policy Positions from Political Texts, American Journal of Political Science: 619-634.
January 17, 2007,
Survey Research and Network Analysis
- Brady, Harry E. 2000. Contributions of Survey Research to Political Science, PS: Political Science and Politics 33 (March): 47-57.
- Manheim and Rich, Empirical Political Analysis, Chapter 7 "Survey Research"
- Herrmann, Richard, Philip Tetlock, and Diascro 2001. How Americans Think About Trade, International Studies Quarterly
- Sciarini, Pascal, et al. 2004. How Europe Hits Home: Evidence from the Swiss Case. Journal of European Public Policy 11(3): 353-378 (and questionnaires).
January 24, 2007,
Discussion on Topic of Assignment #3
January 31, 2007,
Discussion on Topic of Assignment #4
February 23, 2007,
Final Papers Due
Schedule and Topics of Assignments
Note: All assignments are to be sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. (The course instructor will delete any assignment sent to him)
Assignment no. 1 (compulsory)
DEA and PhD students:
Assignment is due Wednesday, November 15 at 2pm. Max. 2000 words. Write a review of a literature area or policy problem. In this review, identify the state of our knowledge on the theoretical question or policy issue and what research questions remain to be examined. Be specific about what your interests are in these areas, as related to the development of your mémoire.
Assignment is due Monday, November 20 at 2pm. Max. 2000 words Write a critical review of assignment #1 of a pre-selected DEA student.
Assignment no. 2 (compulsory)
DEA and PhD students:
Assignment is due Wednesday, December 13 at 2pm. Max. 2000 words. Write a discussion of a hypothesis, including a discussion of the meaning of the concepts. Write a discussion of what the nature of the evidence would be, and how that evidence would be selected.
MIS students: due Monday, December 18 at 2pm. Max. 2000 words. Write a critical review of assignment #2 of a pre-selected DEA student.
Assignment no. 3 (choose either #3 or #4)
Topic and material distributed on Wednesday Jan. 17 in class; due on Monday January 22, 2007 2pm. Max. 2000 words.
Assignment no. 4 (choose either #3 or #4)
Topic and material distributed on Wednesday Jan. 24 in class; due on Monday January 29, 2007 2pm. Max. 2000 words.