GOV 391R • Research Colloq in Political Science
3:30 PM-6:30 PM
This course is targeted at graduate students in all sub-fields who are working on thesis prospectuses, doctoral or post-doctoral grant proposals, and dissertation introductions. It is designed to provide students with guidance, structure, and feedback that will help them to frame and execute well-specified and coherent research projects. The seminar offers its members an opportunity to work through their ideas and test their arguments in an informal and collegial setting. Assigned reading will be kept to a minimum, and students should plan to devote most of their time to defining and developing their own research. The semester will be divided into three parts. For the first few weeks, the group will meet to discuss the logic and strategy of proposal/prospectus writing. This part of the course will be accompanied by assigned readings which highlight generic features of solid proposals, general principles of good proposal writing, and some of the problems that are easy pitfalls in this endeavor. During the second part of the course, students will draft a 10-15 page paper destined to become a thesis prospectus, grant proposal, or introductory chapter. Students will be encouraged to consult with their dissertation advisor as they write. In addition, they may discuss their project with me and (potential) committee members. In the third part of the course, the group will meet on a weekly basis to discuss and critique thesis proposals presented by members of the seminar. You can view this segment of the course as an opportunity to present your work to a thoughtful and attentive audience, identify some of the (potential) strengths and weaknesses of the project, and get new ideas from the group.
Henry Brady and David Collier, Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Rowen and Littlefield, 2004). Stephen van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Cornell, most recent ed.) Ian Shapiro et al., Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics (Cambridge, 2004). Charles Ragin, Fuzzy-Set Social Science (University of Chicago, 2000). Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry (Princeton, 1994) Daniel Little, Understanding Peasant China: Case Studies in the Philosophy of Social Science (New Haven: Yale, 1989). Gary Goertz, Social Science Concepts: A User's Guide (Princeton, 2006).