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Proposal Lab

Vak 2013-2014


Purpose: The aim of this course is to allow students to develop a research proposal.

Content: It consists of a combination of joint classes for all students and individual supervision with the instructor. Students will get the fundamental skills needed to critically evaluate existing research. Students will also learn how to discover interesting and doable research questions, sharpen the theories they use, and develop sound designs for empirical research. The course will discuss different types of social science research designs, case-selection strategies and common threats to internal and external validity of different research approaches. Students will have the opportunity to discuss and critique the research design of state-of-the-art academic articles in political science and public administration, and to develop their own research proposal.

Method of Instruction

Throughout the course the students will develop a research proposal and participate actively in discussions of research articles and the research proposals of their fellow students.

Study Material

The required readings of the course consist of peer-reviewed journal articles and selected chapters in the following textbook.

Bob Hancke (2009) Intelligent Research Design, Oxford: Oxford University Press


The assessment will be based on the quality of the individual research proposals and class participation. The final version of the research proposal will deliver 60% of the final grade. The remaining 40% of the grade will be based on course participation. Class participation involves a) presenting a research proposal to fellow students, b) commenting on research proposals of fellow students, c) presentation of a research article in class, and d) participation in class discussions.

Tuesday 3 & 10 September, 15.00-17.00 hrs in SA31
Tuesday 17 September, 15.00-17.00 hrs in 5A41
Tuesday 24 September, 15.00-17.00 hrs in 5B14
Tuesday 1 October, 15.00-17.00 hrs in 5A37
Tuesday 8 & 15 October, 15.00-17.00 hrs in 0A33
Tuesday 22 October, 15.00-17.00 hrs in SA29