What is International Relations research and how does it work? In times of “fake news“ and claims of a “post factual society“, the skill to distinguish between fact and opinion, between theory and evidence, is key. Empirical-analytical IR research is a tool to describe and explain the world around us by using a specific set of methods. This seminar enables students to design and conduct their own empirical research projects on research questions in the field of International Relations. The seminar introduces the basic elements of a research design, gives first insights into core methods of qualitative studies (namely variants of case study design, variants of text analysis, and ethnographic approaches), relates them to the research field of International Relations and guides the students step by step through the development of a small research project. It is about applying methods and designing research – not just reading literature about methods or empirical research. Participants will work together on how to formulate a precise and focused research question, how to answer the research question, how to choose the right method, and how to collect/generate and analyze/interpret data. Participants discuss selected practical examples from applied research in International Relations. In addition, they outline and present their own research questions for the three families of qualitative research discussed in the seminar and, on this basis, develop initial ideas for their own individual research project, which can be used to develop a BA thesis or a seminar paper in various study modules.

Semester: ST 2023