Thesis Writing Workshop
Master of Arts in Political Science (2 years) Program - mandatory course for second year students
The objective of this seminar is to help preparing the MA thesis and think through related issues of theory, research strategy, methodology, and write-up. Course participants present and discuss the newly written fieldwork/analysis chapters that they are to submit as part of their half thesis-length drafts. The in-class discussions are to focus on the choice and formulation of the research question and the methodology; their justification in terms of relevance, timeliness, and tractability; the clarity of theory; the translation of the research question into a manageable research agenda via hypotheses or other means; the suitablility of concept formation and measurement; the identification of appropriate research methods; the appropriateness of supporting arguments throughout the draft; the structure, quality and readability of figures, tables and text; and the clarity and implication of the findings.
- Ability to conceive, elaborate and defend a research plan
- Reason analytically, applying abstract models to complex empirical situations and engage with different intellectual traditions, subfields, research designs and methodologies in the social sciences
- Ability to design, implement and write up an original academic or applied research in a rigorous and consistent manner
- Ability for effective oral presentation of scholarly thoughts, developing listening and discussion skills
- Ability to harmonize the research plan with the empirical findings, to foresee the difficulties of empirical research, to integrate unexpected results
This course is meant to help developing the MA thesis, which will be separately graded at the time of graduation. Therefore coursework in this seminar will be merely assessed with a pass/fail grade. To earn a pass grade you need to prepare and deliver your own presentation thoughtfully and within the given time constraint; make the progress required in the departmental thesis grading policy; serve as chair, discussant and assistant note-taker (once each) in the subsequent discussions; and help your peers with active and well-prepared participation at their presentations. Active participation means carefully reading and thinking through their drafts beforehand and making comments on them and the presentation as appropriate; i.e. personally contributing to the creation of a stimulating, engaging, focused, supportive, and yet challenging learning environment for all participants in the class.