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Thesis Lab II


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


This course is the second stage of the thesis lab where students finalise their research proposals by developing their methodology and the operationalization of their research. Students will be expected to attend the course with their partially developed project (from Thesis Lab I) ready to develop their methodology. The course includes three separate methods streams and students must attend at least one: (1) Quantitative Methods: Statistical methods; (2) Qualitative Data Collection: Case Studies; and (3) Qualitative Methods of Analysis. Stream (1) revises observational and experimental large-N methodologies, including novel computational social science methodologies. Stream (2) revises causal inference; case selection and process-tracing. Stream (3) revises other methods of analysis including: interview coding (thematic analysis); content analysis; and discourse analysis. Students will have the opportunity to discuss specific issues relating to the design and implementation of their research in class.

Course objectives

On completion of this course, students will have:

  • selected the appropriate research strategy to answer their research question (qualitative vs. quantitative research strategy);

  • identified the concepts under investigation using their selected methodology;

  • a clear understanding of how to collect and analyse the relevant data;

  • a clear understanding of the strengths and limitations of their research approach;

  • completed a full-length research proposal which includes methodology, chapter breakdown and research schedule.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

Short seminars; individual consultations; peer review.

Course Load

5 EC

Assessment method

Graded Assignments:

  • Methods Section (25%)

  • Draft Full Proposal (25%)

  • Final Full Proposal (50%)

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.
Students may only re-sit the failed written assignments or if they do not pass the overall course. Assignment requirements will remain the same. The maximum grade possible for a re-sit of the proposal is 6.

Transitional arrangement for students enrolled in the course in the academic year 2018-19:
The assessment method of this course has changed. Students who have valid partial grades for this course, but have not obtained a passing grade for this course, can complete the course in accordance with last year’s assessment methods.


Information relevant to the course will be posted on Blackboard.

Reading list

Each student is responsible for reading up on necessary methods and techniques. A recommended reading list will be included in the syllabus. To prepare, you can consult the following textbooks:

  • Halperin, Sandra, and Oliver Heath. 2012. Political Research, Methods and Practical Skills, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Toshkov, Dimiter. 2016. Research Design in Political Science, Palgrave: New York, NY.

  • Baglione, Lisa A. 2015. Writing a Research Paper in Political Science: A Practical Guide to Inquiry, Structure, and Methods. Third ed. Los Angeles, CA: CQ Press.

  • Yin, Robert K. (2008) Case Study Research: Design and Methods Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.

  • Rohlfing, Ingo. 2012. Case Studies and Causal Inference: An Integrative Framework. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

  • Beach, Derek and Rasmus Brun Pedersen. 2012. Process-Tracing Methods: Foundations and Guidelines. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press


Use Blackboard to register for every course. The program will register the students in Usis based on the group division.


Dr. J.J. Kantorowicz

Dr. V. Newby