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Methodologies for the Social Sciences I

Schedule

Friday, 1 November 2019 to Friday, 20 December 2019
Total hours: 20
Hours of lectures: 20

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar
  • oral exam

Prerequisites

Compulsory for the 1st year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Optional for the 4th and 5th year students of the MA Programme in "Political and Social Sciences"

Syllabus

The aim of this course is to discuss main approaches to political science and sociology, the principal steps in designing research, and some methods for data collection. In this sense, it aims at introducing all main choices that needs to be addressed in the preparation of the April prospectus.

Taking into account the diverse national and disciplinary background of first year research, the seminar attempts to develop some common knowledge, without losing the richness of plurality. The seminar as a whole, as well as the individual sessions, aim at critically contrasting the advantages as well as problems of the various strategies in the construction of scientific knowledge.

The seminar stems from SPS department’s commitment to methodological pluralism and informed debate. Specifically its aims are:

  • To provide an overview of approaches in the social sciences, in order to help students to choose their own approach for the thesis, to justify this approach, and to situate it within the discipline;
  • To ensure that PhD graduates become fully literate social scientists, able to read and understand work written within different traditions and approaches;
  • To introduce researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences and to demystify some of this debate, identifying commonalities, historic continuities, and genuine differences;
  • To give first year researchers a common experience and socialization and to encourage them to discuss their own work across sub-disciplines and methodological approaches.

In the second part, some specific research designs will be presented and researchers will be asked to present their own work in progress within chosen sessions.