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Bachelor Project IBO 2019-2020


Admission Requirements

Participation in the Bachelor's Project is only permitted if the propaedeutic phase has been passed and at least 40 ECts of the second year have been obtained, including the course Research Methods in Political Science. The successful completion of the Academic Skills course: Research Design is also an entry requirement for the Bachelor Project.

Transitory Regulation

Students who have not passed their Bachelor Project in 2018 - 2019 (15 ECts) need to take a Bachelor Project new style (20 ECts).

Bachelor Project Information meetings Leiden

De information meetings on the Bachelor Projects are scheduled:
Semester I: Wednesday 15 May 2019, 09:00-11:00 in room 1A20.
Semester II: Wednesday 27 November 2019, 09.00 - 11.00 in room 1A20.

Registration for Bachelor Project

Registration is possible according the following scheme:
Block I & II: Monday 15 July 2019, 10.00h - Sunday 21 July 2019, 23.59h.
Block III & IV: Monday 9 December 2019, 10.00h - Sunday 15 December 2019, 23.59h.
Enrollment is on a first come first serve base; be sure to enroll in time!


Goal 1: Learning to apply concepts, theories and methods in a research project that fits within a framework that has been formulated by the teacher in advance;
Goal 2: Conducting, and reporting on, a limited empirical or literature study.
Content: The bachelor project is a course that offers substantive instruction, followed by a research part within which students carry out an individual study. Various projects are offered that are structured around different themes. Students first follow substantive instruction for a number of weeks in which they deepen their knowledge of a specific subject within a subfield of political science. After that, students learn to formulate a research question, to design research to answer that question, to conduct their own research, and to report correctly and clearly on that research.
The final report - the Bachelor's thesis - completes the Bachelor's degree in Political Science. The thesis is an individual final paper based on at least partly on the student’s own, original research.

Bachelor Project themes

Semester 1:

01: Deterrence and Compellence in International Politics - Pellikaan (activiteit nr. 2475)
De politiek van afschrikking heeft twee componenten: (1) defensieve afschrikking (deterrence) is er op gericht om een tegenstander af te schrikken om aan te vallen. De theorie van defensieve afschrikking (deterrence) wordt vooral gebruikt in gevallen van nucleaire afschrikking en het handhaven van de status quo; (2) offensieve afschrikking (compellence) is er op gericht om de status quo te wijzigen door dreigen met militair geweld.
Er zijn verschillende benaderingen in het bestuderen van afschrikking in de internationale politiek. Het project start met een literatuurstudie van deze verschillende benaderingen ten aanzien van een bipolaire wereld en een multipolaire wereld. Voor de bestudering van de nucleaire afschrikking van de twee grootmachten tijdens de koude oorlog in een bipolaire wereld wordt vaak de speltheorie als methode van analyse gebruikt. Daarnaast wordt voor cases van conventionele afschrikking van staten in een multipolaire wereld (1) de historische methode van Alexander George gebruikt (The Method of Structured, Focused Comparison) of (2) de kwantitatieve benadering van Paul Huth (The Extended Deterrence cases).
Studenten worden geacht een scriptie te schrijven over afschrikking en men dient op basis van de bestudering van de literatuur een keuze te maken tussen (1) een comparatief onderzoek waarin een klein aantal cases van afschrikking (deterrence) worden bestudeerd en (2) een empirisch onderzoek waarin een groot aantal cases van afschrikking (deterrence of compellence) worden onderzocht met behulp van een statistische methode.

02: Political Psychology in International Relations - Bakker (activiteit nr. 10138)
This bachelor project introduces you to a selection of political psychological theories that can be applied to the analysis of international relations and foreign policy. The field of international relations relies heavily on structural theories, in which the role and behavior of individuals are generally considered to be a constant factor. The field of political psychology has an actor-centric perspective that offers a different perspective on the study of international relations and foreign policy. Effectively, this means that you are expected to take on a relatively new perspective on IR, since you have mainly been introduced into the structural theories of IR.

This project offers a selection of political psychological approaches that can be used to study international relations and foreign policy, such as the studying of microfoundations of structural IR theories, and the behavioral traits, belief systems, and personality of political leaders. Expect the first six weeks to read a lot of literature, and moreover, to think about, reflect upon and write about this literature. Moreover, you will be introduced to methods to conduct political psychological research, including a core instrument of political psychology: experiments. Please note, therefore, that in order to follow this BAP it is of importance not to shy away from using quantitative data analysis.

Based on the substantive readings during the first six weeks, you are expected to develop and pursue your own specific research question, find and review more and relevant literature to design your research, and to collect and analyze data to answer your research question.

The thesis can be written in English or in Dutch. I prefer you choose the language in which you can express yourself most clearly.

Semester 2:

03: Small States in World Politics - Veenendaal
Existing academic studies of international relations (IR) primarily focus on a handful of large powers like the United States, China, Russia, and India. In classical IR theories, small states are mostly regarded as objects in world politics, which cannot have a meaningful independent impact on international affairs. Being limited in in population size, territory, natural resources, and military capabilities, small states are seen as vulnerable and weak, and their survival permanently dependent on the goodwill of larger countries.
But if this is the case, how can we explain the economic influence of small countries like Luxembourg and Singapore? How can it be that a country like Qatar is not only able to host the FIFA World Cup, but also to sponsor Islamic insurgency groups throughout the Middle East? How do countries like Estonia, Georgia, and Moldova deal with mounting Russian assertiveness in central and eastern Europe? Why have Cyprus and Malta recovered so fast from the global economic crisis, while larger Mediterranean countries continue to face economic stagnation? What role do Caribbean countries play in transnational drugs trafficking networks, and how have tiny Pacific island states succeeded in putting climate change and rising sea levels on the agenda of the United Nations? As these questions demonstrate, the position of small states in global politics is not as insignificant as scholars have generally assumed. Small countries certainly can play an important role in international affairs, and many small states make creative use of their sovereignty to compensate for their relative weakness in the international system.
In this bachelor project, students will study the foreign policies and international relations of either one or a limited number of small states with less than 1,5 million inhabitants (there are 46 of them in total). In the substantive part of the course, we will first pay attention to the views of the mainstream IR theories on small states. Subsequently, we will discuss more specific literature on the international security, economic development, and foreign policies of small states, as well as the participation of small states in international organizations. In the second part of the course, students will focus on writing their individual bachelor’s thesis. Students are free to choose any particular focus of their project, and bachelor theses could for example focus on small state foreign policy, small state behavior in international organizations, domestic determinants of small state foreign policy, or economic development strategies and (international) economic policies of small states. While single-case or small-N comparative research designs are most practicable, students are also free to choose a quantitative or mixed methods design if they desire so.

04: Institutions and Inequality - van Coppenolle (maximum of 10 students)

05: Nieuwe titel - Onbekend

06: Democratization Processes in Contemporary Africa - Demarest
In most Sub-Saharan African countries, the optimism that followed the early years of independence quickly turned to pessimism in the face of economic crises and the tightening grip of authoritarian leaders on political and civil rights. In the early 1990s, however, the winds of change appeared to alter the face of the continent and many countries reintroduced multiparty democracy. Over time, several countries have been able to transition to stable democracies (e.g. Ghana, Benin, Senegal), but others continue to experience authoritarian rule and setbacks (e.g. coups). Moreover, civil war and political violence have not declined since the 1990s and democratization processes risk fueling violence as well (e.g. electoral violence). Finally, while democratization has not appeared to bring a ‘peace dividend’, the same can be said with regard to economic development as African governments have not been able to bring their economies on stable growth paths.
This Bachelor project seminar focuses on democratization in Sub-Saharan Africa and two overarching research questions: 1. Why do some countries democratize successfully while others do not, and 2. What are the advantages brought by democracy for the improvement of African lives? During the first part of the course students will gain insight in the political and economic histories and characteristics of African countries, as well as key actors in African politics (e.g. elites, parties, civil society, international community etc.). They will also be acquainted with foundational texts in this field. During the second part of the course, students will formulate their research questions within the overarching framework of the seminar, develop their research designs, and conduct their own empirical research. To assist in their research, students are introduced to the Afrobarometer public opinion surveys. Other data sources covered include Freedom House, Polity IV, World Development Indicators, the UCDP conflict datasets, and the news archives. Students can make use of quantitative as well as qualitative research methods.

Mode of Instruction

Workgroup meetings, walk-in meetings, library instruction, and above all self-study.

Library Instruction

On BB you will find more information on the digital module 'Library Instruction'.

Study materials

The methodological basic book Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 4th ed. (Or the fifth edition of 2016) is assumed to be known. The core literature can be found on the blackboard page of the Bachelor's project. Further information about the bachelor project and the subprojects will also be available there.

Assessment Method

Block 1: Substantive part (weeks 1-6, 40% of the BAP grade), rounded to 0ne decimal and passed with a 5,5 or higher
Block 2: Research part (weeks 7-16, 60% of the BAP grade), rounded to whole and half numbers and passed with a 6,0 or higher

Final product:

Thesis/Scriptie: between 7000-8000 words, exl. references; a research project that addresses a research question and can be answered with individual (original or literature – based) research within the appropriate tradition of the sub-discipline.
Deadline: week 16 (week 8 of the second block).

Students either pass or fail the entire Bachelor Project (16 weeks), worth 20 ECts. Students need to pass both parts of the BAP in order to receive the ECts.

Leiden thesis repository

Approved theses are stored in the Student Repository of the Leiden Repository after completion of the Bachelor Project. Students will have to sign a statement for this. Read more