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Proposal Lab



Purpose: The aim of this course is to allow students to develop a research proposal. Students will practice the fundamental skills needed to critically evaluate existing research and become familiar with the requirements for drafting external funding applications. Students will also learn how to define 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, strategies for case selection and common threats to the internal and external validity of different research approaches. Students will have the opportunity to develop their own research proposal and to discuss and critique other students’ proposals with reference to the standards set out in academic literature in political science and public administration.

Learning objectives: By the end of this course, students will be able to: – Define a research question that makes a theoretical contribution, while also being practically feasible; – Develop a theoretical framework that situates the research project within existing scholarship; – Produce a research design suitable to find an answer to the research question; – Write a proposal that communicates the strengths of the research project and the qualifications of the researcher to carry out the project.

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 consist of a research proposal (60%) and class participation (40%).
Class participation involves a) presenting a research proposal to fellow students, b) commenting on research proposals of fellow students, and c) participation in class discussions.


Monday 1 September until Monday 20 October, from 13:00 – 15:00 hours in SA31.