Thesis Writing Workshop

Term: 
Fall
Winter
Credits: 
0.5
Academic Year: 
Status: 
Mandatory
Course Description: 

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. 

Learning Outcomes: 
  • 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 
Assessment: 

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. 

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