REsearch design in Cultural Sociology

Period of duration of course
Course info
Number of course hours
Number of hours of lecturers of reference
Number of hours of supplementary teaching

Type of exam

Oral exam


Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students of the PhD Programme in "Transnational Governance"


In this intensive 20-hour-long research design colloquium, doctoral students in their first, second and third year, whose dissertations include media, communication and sociology of culture components present a chapter in progress of their dissertation and receive feedback from peers and instructors. Organized in three daylong meetings, the colloquium allocates two respondents per student, who receive extensive feedback for approximately 45 minutes each. Each time slot is divided in three subsections: students present their research project for 8 minutes, respondents have 7 minutes each to provide feedback, and the remaining time is devoted to an open discussion with the instructors and the rest of the student body. Students are required to upload their materials at least one week in advance. Whereas first-year students upload a research proposal, second- and third-year students upload a chapter in progress (or a related article) and a five-page summary of their dissertation project.

Educational aims

The aim of the colloquium is twofold. First, students have the opportunity to receive multidisciplinary feedback from instructors and peers who specialize in sociology of media, culture and communication. which is meant to complements and expands the suggestions they receive from their dissertation supervisor(s). This allows students to expand the range of theoretical and methodological perspectives on their research project. Second, students receive training on how to structure a research design in multiple steps. These include the initial development of the research questions, their theoretical framing, the selection of case studies, the choice of the methodology, the potential and challenges of fieldwork, and the analysis, interpretation and presentation of the results. In this way, students take advantage of a wide range of perspectives to develop their dissertation, prepare for intermediate qualifying exams, and learn how to present their work to a wider academic audience.