ASTK15361U  CANCELLED - COURSE: Research design in International Relations

Volume 2015/2016

Elective in the Specialisation "International Relations, Diplomacy and Conflict Studies"

Bachelor level 10 ECTS

Master level 7.5 ECTS


This is a graduate seminar that integrates various research methods with the substance of International Relations (IR) research. Students are taught to operationalize and measure concepts and to understand different methods of data collection, analysis, and interpretation. This course will require the student to apply either a quantitative or a qualitative method to develop a research design paper focusing on a specific research puzzle in the IR field.


Competency description: This course will build a solid foundation for students to continue in-depth study in IR. Students who aim to work on foreign policy or international relations in any type of organization, such as international organizations, diplomatic bureaucracy, global companies, or mass media will benefit from developing some analytical and methodological skills in this class. 

Learning Outcome

Goal description: The objective of the course is to enable the students to:


  • Familiarize themselves with basic research methods in IR;
  • Understand how to develop a research puzzle and conduct literature reviews in IR;
  • Critically evaluate, analyze, and compare the key theoretical orientations in IR;
  • Develop a hypothesis and operationalize the dependent and independent variables;
  • Write an independent research design paper in IR.
  • Demonstrate skills in expressing oneself orally and in writing.


Alexander George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (MIT Press, 2005)

Akan Malici and Elizabeth Smith, Political Science Research in Practice (Routledge 2013). 


This course will consist of a combination of student presentations, class discussions, possible guest lectures, presentation essays, and a final research project. Students are highly expected to actively participate in class presentations, finish the required readings (journal articles or book chapters), and prepare questions for class discussions before each class meeting.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Written exam
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment

Criteria for achieving the goals:

  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • Preparation
  • 168
  • Exam
  • 79
  • Total
  • 275