Universität Leipzig

PD Dr. phil. Melanie Morisse-Schilbach

Projektmodul: Research design and qualitative methods

Sommersemester 2014


The aim of this workshop/course is to narrow the gap between an overall broad but still undefined research interest BA students in political sciences / International Relations (IR) do have when approaching their MA thesis, on the one hand, and the inevitable need to ‘translate’ these ‘fuzzy’ interests and broad curiosities for a certain subject into methodically sophisticated research designs, on the other. The course seeks to highlight the numerous decisions that students must make when doing research, including the choice for theory as starting point for (empirical) research, the decision about the appropriate number of cases (problem of case selection and bias; small- versus large N-cases designs), and the search for the ‘right’ type of analytical technique that help to gather and interpret data in qualitative social sciences (e.g., process-tracing as well as discourse analysis as distinct techniques in qualitative research designs). The overall focus is on the logic of research and potential errors we might commit when making these decisions. How can we produce useful and valid findings provided the methods chosen are appropriate to the subject and objectives of inquiry? 

Semester: ST 2014