Course Detail
Course Components:
This course examines key stages in the process of applied social science research, focusing on theory development and research design. We begin by learning to frame research questions, propositions, hypothesis, and constructs/variables and assess research validity concerns. In parallel, we consider the merits of alternative research methods for developing theory, collecting data, and testing hypotheses, including survey design, case studies, and archival research. We will explore the strengths of different methods for different research goals and will consider approaches to combining insights from different research methods. For each topic, students study core readings and relevant examples of research papers. In addition to covering issues surrounding the design of particular research projects, we will also focus on developing research streams, that is, related pieces of research that build around a common theme and that advance a theoretical agenda. The course will have an underlying "methodological" focus, where perennial issues across disciplines (e.g., around levels and units of analysis and the commensurability of different theoretical paradigms) will be discussed in the context of concrete research problems.