Academic Year 2021/2022 - 1° Year
Teaching Staff: Fulvio Attinà
Credit Value: 6
Scientific field: SPS/04 - Political science
Taught classes: 36 hours
Term / Semester:

Course Structure

The course offers the opportunity to develop the ability to set up and start a research project with an eye to the preparation of the master's thesis. In eight sessions, the student is trained to build the essentials of the research project s/he chooses. Each session has two classroom meetings and, in between, the individual work segment. At the Wednesday meeting, the student receives instructions on how to set up the research project item. In the home segment, the student makes up the research project item using the recommended book and other sources of her/his choice and fills out the session template (provided by the instructor) that sends to the instructor ( by Sunday. In the Tuesday meeting, the realization of the research project item by the student is commented.

Detailed Course Content


15 March, Welcome and Orientation

The course program and organization are presented along with introductory notions about methodology and scientific knowledge.

16 & 22 March, Session 1 – Methodology, scientific knowledge, and the research process.

Focus is on ‘knowledge’ in scientific research and on research work as the process of testing, building, or enlarging existing scientific knowledge.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chaps.1,2,3 OR Baglione chap.1.
  • Fill in Template 1 and send it by March 20.

23 & 29 March, Session 2 - I want to know why … so my RQ is …!

In this Session, you make the first step of the research process. It consists in selecting the issue that intrigues you a lot and generates the theory-based question on which you build the research project.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński ch.4 (first 4 sections) OR Baglione chap.2.
  • Think and indicate your research question (RQ) relevant to GLOPEM areas of study. Tip: it is preferable to have some knowledge about the proposed RQ.
  • Fill in Template 2 and send it by March 27.

30 March & 5 April, Session 3 – Hunting for and mapping the existing knowledge. The LR!

In this session, you learn how to do the literature review, that is, how to search and organize the scientific products that are relevant to your RQ.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.5 OR Baglione chaps.3&4.
  • Review information resources (books, articles, chapters, media, and web resources) useful to develop the RQ, including the DPSS library resources. Draft your basic LR, Literature review, and AB, Annotated bibliography.
  • Fill in Template 3 and send it by April 03.

06 & 12 April, Session 4 - Why that? My theory is …, so my H/s) is/are …?

You have in mind the answer to your RQ. A sound argument and strong evidence make you sure that what you have in mind is the right answer to the question the others will buy. Briefly, you must express your theory and your hypothesis/es that is/are consistent with the theory and testable. Only the positively tested hypothesis demonstrates the reliability of your answer and theory.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.4/the last section OR Baglione chap.5.
  • Present the model of your RQ. Support the model presentation through theories and arguments from the LR and present the hypothesis(es) that explains your RQ.
  • Fill in Template 4 and send it by April 17.

20 & 26 April, Session 5 – How can I demonstrate it scientifically? The RD!

You get to the crucial step, the Research Design. Outline the way for demonstrating that relevant facts and data confirm your hypothesis/es. In other terms, decide which data you need, organize the data collection, and select the method(s) that best serve the analysis for testing the hypothesis/es. Tip: commensurate the research design with the resources and time at your disposal.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.6 OR Baglione chap.7.
  • Present the RD, research design.
  • Fill in Template 5 and send it by April 24.

27 & 28 April, Session 6 - By qualitative testing?

Social scientists use a lot of methods for testing hypotheses. Qualitative, non-numerical methods of testing fit well to many research projects. Check whether your research fits to be tested by means of qualitative methods.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.7&8 OR Baglione chap.8/the first 2 sections.
  • Present the research qualitative method(s) that suit to your research.
  • Fill in Template 6 and send it by May 01.

03 & 04 May, Session 7 - By quantitative testing?

Measurement and quantitative analysis are the hypothesis testing tools preferred by many political scientists. It is worth considering the use of quantitative methods for giving a twist to your project.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.9&10 OR Baglione chap.8/the last 2 sections.
  • Present the research method(s) that suit to your research.
  • Fill in Template 7 and send it by May 08.

10 & 11 May, Session 8 – Finally, write it all down and advertise the product!

Your research work is a contribution, maybe a valuable contribution to the enlargement of scientific knowledge about the theme of interest. Think about how to call the attention of the wider public towards your product.

Student assignment:

  • Read Lamont & Boduszyński chap.11&12 OR Baglione chap.6 & 9.
  • Fill in Template 8 and send it by May 15.

17 May – Game over!

Look back and assess what you did and what you have got from the course.

Textbook Information

The recommended book can be chosen from the following

  • Lamont Christopher and Mieczysław P. Boduszyński (2020), Research Methods in Politics and International Relations. Sage. Ebook available. A second-best [available at the Biblioteca Scienze Politiche, BC-16-2478] is Lamont Christopher (2015), Research Methods in International Relations, Sage.
  • Baglione Lisa A. (2018), Writing a research paper in Political Science, Sage/CQ Press. Ebook available (recommended). The early (still good) edition of this book is available at the at the Biblioteca Scienze Politiche: BE-1-256.