This course offers an introduction to key methodological approaches required to understand, critically analyze, and explain problems in social sciences. It first covers philosophical, ethical and practical issues regarding systematic social inquiry. It will then provide students with specific tools and techniques for empirical research in social sciences, including literature review, case studies, qualitative interviews, focus group and participant observation, quantitative surveys and questionnaires, archival research and e-research. Students will learn the necessary skills for conducting and evaluating social inquiry as well as crafting an independent research project. The core assignment is a research proposal in which students wishing to write a Master’s thesis must design an original project (successful completion of the course with a grade of B+ or above is required). The course will be an opportunity for students to bring their own research questions into the class and discuss their choice of research design and methodology.
This course aims to provide students with the ability to: (1) design, plan, write and disseminate a polished research project, (2) identify a research problem and develop hypotheses to effectively describe, examine, critique, and solve that problem, (3) build arguments that are coherent, empirically supported, theoretically grounded, and logically sound, as well as evaluate arguments made by others, (4) understand the values and limitations of different methodological approaches and evaluate scholarly work based on the merits of research design and instruments, (5) collect data and evaluate the reliability and validity of selected references and sources, and (6) identify, and comply with, ethical issues related to social inquiry.