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Research Methods Lecture 6 Topic Selection

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Courtney Thomas

on 19 December 2016

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Transcript of Research Methods Lecture 6 Topic Selection

Theory Building
What do we know about our research topic that might help us to better explain or understand it?
Personal experience
Previous study
Imaginative capacities
Requires explanatory research
Establish the facts of the case study
Induction v. Deduction
Examples of Topic Selection
European Politics with Dr. Scheutz
MA Thesis
Doctoral Dissertation
Conference Paper 2013
Let Your Passion Be Your Guide
Problem with Political Research
We want to know what is happening but we also want to know why
BUT generalizations are problematic
No two events are the same
Culture, economics, politics, religion, history, etc.
We learn from each other
Where to Start?
Evening news
Previous coursework
Previous interest
Upcoming travel
Long-term goals
Research Methods
PSCI 2024
Winter 2017
Dr. Courtney Thomas
Lecture 6: Topic Selection

Thinking about Design
Theories Redefined
In Political Science research a theory often refers to a set of logically related ideas that explain what we think happens in the world
Theories guide testing and contextualize our research results
A hypothesis predicts a specific relationship between variables
As much as possible, let your interests guide your choices
There is nothing that will make you more miserable than doing a prolonged research project on a subject you hate
This may be unavoidable in specific classes but should certainly be a factor in your own research agenda
HOW will you do your research?
You have to make sure that your project is reasonable
You have the capacity and the time to see it through to completion
It is appropriate for the course (or context)
You have the resources necessary to be successful
Pitfalls of the process...
The Role of Theories
In International Relations a theory is a simplifying device that helps us look at history/politics to determine which facts matter and which do not
Exclusionary Principles
Perspective, world view, etc.
NOT to be tested
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