Qualitative Methods in Political Research
This course surveys qualitative methods used in political science research. After briefly reviewing qualitative and quantitative research traditions and elements of research design and concept formation, the course covers the practical uses of specific qualitative methods, including case studies, comparative historical analysis, archival research, interviewing, participant observation, ethnography, and mixed-method strategies. Examples used will come largely from comparative politics and international relations.
The course will also require students to develop a research proposal similar to the dissertation prospectus through the semester. You will be asked to hand in an initial version of your research question and proposal in the third week, and then keep developing on it using the different techniques learned. This will help you be on track in developing you prospectus in the third year. The course is meant for 2nd year, and 3rd year students, who are getting ready for their prospectus, and research proposals, and 1st year students will not be given preference. The course should ideally be capped at 15, and maybe a few more students, since it is based on discussion participation, and to allow all students a chance to present their research proposals.
Format and Requirements
Active participation in seminar discussions, close readings of assigned texts, in-class presentations, analytic papers, and hands-on assignments using qualitative methods.
It is recommended that students have done the core course in one of the subfields, and are aware of basic methodological approaches. The core course seminar in comparative politics, or in international relations would be most helpful.