CANCELLED - COURSE: The Logics of Inquiry (in IR and IPE): Strengthen your research designs and use of theory

Course content

General description of the course contents

    

This course is a 7,5 ECTS-points course, which is concluded with a synopsis exam.

The course is structured around the new classic in IR and IPE, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson’s (2011; 2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics. This book as brought renewed attention to how many debates taking place within IR and IPE are essentially due to differences in the authors’ ontological and epistemological starting points. This is, however, not a unique feature of IR and IPE. Instead, it applies to most, if not all, fields within political and social science.

 

     This course is, therefore, relevant to all students who seek to strengthen their research design and use of theory and their ability to evaluate the logical consistence and scientific quality of others’ work. While the course is centred on strengthening the logic of inquiry it offers an opportunity for students to get familiarised with IR and IPE.

 

    That said, IR and IPE are known as fields, which are particularly rich in terms of the varieties of underlying philosophy of science stances being used. Therefore, students of IR and IPE have a particular need of a thorough understanding and conceptual framework to discuss these differences and their implications for the(ir) conduct of inquiry/crafting of research designs in MA dissertation and other research projects.

 

     While the course has a strong focus on preparing students for written exams and the MA dissertation, it also provides a set of generic skills, which will be of high value and relevance for all students who will be drawing on or conducting research in their (student/later) jobs.

 

This course is a 10 ECTS-points course, which is concluded with a free assignment. Hence, tThe course is focused on providing the students with the best possible basis for writing free assignments and later possiblylike bachelor theses, internship reports, and master dissertations about on the four themes dealt with through the course. These are: 1) Diplomacy, 2) the EU’s external diplomacy and foreign policy-making, 3) theoretical tools, 4) multilateral environmental governance, and 5) EU participation in multilateral environmental governance.

Importantly, tThe ‘theoretical tools’ are not only limited to theories tailored to the EU, nor do the course only provide insights into how to study EU participation in multilateral environmental governance. On the contrary, students will also be able to analyse and write about how the EU engages in multilateral governance of other policy areas, and about how other actors are represented and act in multilateral governance, though, especially in multilateral environmental governance, as this is the issue area chosen as an empirical example for this course.

 

Detailed description of the course contents

The course runs over 714 weeks with 2*one2 two-hours classes each week (or 1*4-hours class TBC). The course is structured to the following 4 themes and 14 ‘class titles’:

 

I. Introduction.

1. Introduction: Narrow and broad definitions of (social) science

2. Two levels of theory and methodology versus methods

II. A typology & logic of inquiry for each of the four methodological starting points

3. Jackson’s typology of the four methodological starting points in IR and IPE

4. Neopositivism I

5. Neopositivism II

6. Critical realism I

7. Critical realism II

8. Analyticism I

9. Analyticism II

10. Reflexivity I

11. Reflexivity II

III. Implications of the four methodologies for judging the quality of research

12. Critique of Jackson’s typology

13. Different methodologies and the use of evaluative criteria in IR, IPE and beyond

IV. Preparation for the synopsis exam (group work and instructor feedback)  

14. Workshop: ‘Making methodology & research design fit together’ + Q&A on the exam.

The classes under each of the themes I, II and IV will be structured, so that the first half of the class is used to discuss a methodological issue. The second half of the class will be focused on how the discussed methodological issue is dealt with (or not) in IR and IPE texts or in the students’ earlier work, group work or work in progress. In theme II, there will be one class where we discuss the underlying assumptions and implications of a methodological starting point (i.e. neopositivism I, critical realism I, analyticism I and reflexivism I), and then one class afterwards, where we discuss the application of the four methodologies in different IR and IPE texts.

 

The workshop in class 14 is inspired by the workshop on ‘methods in IR’ held at the Department of Political Science (UCPH) in the spring term of 2016, which I contributed to as a PhD student.

 

Competency description

 

Knowledge

Students will obtain concrete knowledge on Jackson’s (2011; 2016) influential typology of methodologies in IR and IPE and an in-depth understanding of the most important philosophy of science stances in order to place different IR and IPE (or other social science) texts and their own work in a wider conceptual framework. On the basis of this, students will be able to reflect on the advantages and limits of the different methodologies.

 

Skills

Students will be able to analyze specific IR and IPE (or other social science) texts and evaluate the logical coherence (or the lack thereof) between the underlying methodology, on the one hand, and the research design and use of theory, on the other. Furthermore, they will understand the different implications that arise from various methodological starting points, and how these impact on the students’ use of theory and methods.

 

Competences

Students will be able to better assess and understand different methodologies, knowledge claims, debates and quality criteria used in IR and IPE (and social science in general) and to evaluate the implications of their own choice of methodological starting-point.

 

Education

Elective course in "Security Risk Management" and in the specalization "International political Ecnomony"

Bachelorlevel: 10 ECTS

Masterlevel: 7,5 ECTS

 

 

Learning outcome

The objective of the course is to enable the students to:

Describe:

1) The key philosophical assumptions underpinning the four methodological starting points of neopositivism, critical realism, analyticism and reflexivity.

2) The implications of each of these four methodologies for the view on i) causality, ii) comparisons and iii) the status of scientific knowledge (including theories).

3) What seems to be the methodological starting point in various IR and IPE texts, and whether these texts are logically coherent in terms of the research design and use of theory?

4) Alternatives to and critiques of Jackson’s typology (of methodological starting points)

5) Alternative evaluative criteria for judging the quality of non-neopositivist research

 

Present the key features of Jackson’s typology of methodological starting points, their implica-tions for the conduct of inquiry (i.e. research) and application and role in IR and IPE debates.

 

Apply the methodologies examined in the course to actual empirical cases or to their own BA, MA or internship projects or written exams; so that the view on causality, comparisons and the use of theory and methods are applied in a logically coherent fashion given their choice of methodology/methodological starting point (i.e. neopositivism, critical realism, analyticism or reflexivity). Apply various sets of evaluative criteria for judging the quality of research to each other’s earlier work/work in progress and to IR and IPE texts.

 

Compare and analyse the four methodological starting points examined in the course and relating them to on-going and past debates in IR and IPE.

 

Combine and synthesise contributions on the course’s reading list to the academic debate on:

1) The politics of knowledge (in academia and beyond)

2) Evidence-based politics (in Denmark and beyond)

3) What (social) science is, and is not

3) What the purpose of theories is, and is not

4) The standards for formulating research designs and judging the quality of research findings

 

Evaluate the validity, usefulness, and normative implications of the different methodological starting points (i.e. neopositivism, critical realism, analyticism and reflexivity) and of their application in the various IR and IPE texts examined in the course.

The following types of instruction will be used in the course: Teacher presentation of the texts on the reading list, student presentations, group discussions, group work, and (voluntary) take-home assignments

The readings for each class of the 14 classes are listed below under the title/main subject dealt with in each of the respective classes. Moreover, is the course structured around four themes:

 

I. Introduction

II. A typology & ‘logic of inquiry’ for each of the four methodological starting points

III. Implications of the four methodologies for judging the quality of research

IV. Preparation for the synopsis exam (group work and instructor feedback)

I. Introduction.

   

1. Introduction: Narrow and broad definitions of social science

      Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 1 ‘Playing with fire’ (pp. 1-23). (23 pages).

 

     Schwartz-Shea, P. and Yanow, D. (2014a) Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn, 2nd ed., Amonk and London: M.E.Sharpe. ‘Wherefore “interpretive?”: An Introduction’ (pp. xiii-xxxi). (18 pages).

 

     Schwartz-Shea, P. and Yanow, D. (2014b) ‘I. Meaning and Methodology’ (pp. 1-5) in Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow (eds.)  Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn, 2nd ed., Amonk and London: M. E. Sharpe.

(5 pages).

 

     Yanow, D. (2014a) ‘Thinking Interpretively: Philosophical Presuppositions and the Human Sciences’ (pp. 5-26) In Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow (eds.) Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn, 2nd ed., Amonk and London: M. E. Sharpe. (22 pages).

 

Hawkesworth, M. (2014) ‘Contending Conceptions of Science and Politics: Methodology and the Constitution of the Political’ (pp.27-49) In Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow (eds.) Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn, 2nd ed., Amonk and London: M. E. Sharpe. (23 pages).

 

(In total: 91 pages)

 

 

2. Two levels of theory and methodology versus methods

 

     Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 2 ‘Philosophical wagers’ (pp. 24-41). (17 pages).

 

Yanow, D. (2014b) ‘Neither Rigorous nor Objective?: Interrogating Criteria for Knowledge Claims in Interpretive Sciene’ (97-119) in Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow (eds.) Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn, 2nd ed., Amonk and London: M. E. Sharpe. (23 pages).

 

Rosamond, B. (2015) ‘Methodology’ (18-36) in Kennet Lynggaard, Ian Manners and Karl Löfgren (eds.) Research Methods in European Union Studies, London: Palgrave Macmillan. (19 pages).

 

(In total: 59 pages)

 

 

II. A typology & logic of inquiry for each of the four methodological starting points

 

3. Jackson’s typology of the four methodological starting points in IR and IPE

 

     Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 7 ‘A pluralist science of IR’ (pp. 188-212). (25 pages).

 

     Moses and Knutsen (2012) Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. ‘Introduction’ (pp. 1-18). (18 pages).

 

Mearsheimer, J. J. and Walt, S. M. (2013) ‘Leaving theory behind: Why simplistic hypothesis testing is bad for International Relations’, European Journal of International Relations, vol. 19(3), pp. 427–457. (30 pages).

 

(In total: 73 pages)

 

 

4. Neopositivism I

 

Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 3 ‘Neopositivism’ (pp. 41-72). (31 pages).

 

(In total: 31 pages).

 

 

5. Neopositivism II

 

Rousseau, D. L., Christopher Gelpi, Dan Reiter, and Paul K. Huth (1996) ‘Assessing the dyadic nature of the democratic peace, 1918-1988’, The American Political Science Review, vo. 90(3), pp. 512-533. (30 pages).

 

Deutsch, K. W. (1954) Political Community at the International Level: Problems of definition and measurement, Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Selected sections (pp. 1-25). (25 pages).

 

Singer, J. D. (1961) ‘The level-of-analysis problem in International Relations’ (pp. 77-92) in Klaus Knorr (ed.) The international system, Princeton: Princeton University Press. (15 pages).

 

Wohlforth, W. C. (1999) ‘A certain idea of science’, Journal of Cold War Studies, vol, 1(2), pp. 39-60. (42 pages).

 

(In Total: 112 pages)

 

 

6. Critical realism I

 

Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 4 ‘Critical Realism’ (pp. 72-112). (40 pages).

 

(In total: 40 pages).

 

 

7. Critical realism II

 

Wendt, A. (1998) ‘On constitution and causation in International Relations’ (pp. 101-118) in Tim Dunne, Michael Cox and Ken Booth (eds.) The eighty years’ crisis: International Relations 1919-1999, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (18 pages).

Wendt, A. (1999) Social theory of international politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 2 ‘Scientific realism and social kinds’ (pp. 47-92) plus pp. 130-136, pp. 216-221 and pp. 244-250 from, respectively, chapter 4 ’Structure, agency, and culture’, chapter 5 ’The state and the problem of corporate agency’ and chapter 6  ’Three cultures of anarchy’. (63 pages).

Wight, C. (2006) Agents, structure and International Relations: Politics as ontology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Chapter 1 ‘IR a science without positivism?’ (pp. 14-61) plus pp. 221-223 and pp. 284-286 from respectively chapter 6 ‘The agent–structure problem: epistemology’ and chapter 7 ’The agent–structure problem: methodology’. (53 pages).

White, J. (2009) ‘The social theory of mass politics’, Journal of Politics, vol. 71(1), pp. 96-112. (16 pages).

 

(In total 150 pages)

 

 

8. Analyticism I

 

Jackson, P. T. (2016) The Conduct of Inquiry in International Relations: Philosophy of science and its implications for the study of world politics, 2nd ed., London and New York: Routledge. Chapter 5 ‘Analyticism’ (pp. 112-156). (44 pages).

 

(In total: 44 pages).

 

 

9. Analyticism II

 

Seabrooke, L. (2001) US Power in International Finance: The Victory of Dividends, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 1 ‘The Political Economy of Direct Financing’ (pp. 1-21). (21 pages)

 

Seabrooke, L. (2001) US Power in International Finance: The Victory of Dividends, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Chapter 2 ‘State Capacity and Finance in IPE’ (pp. 22-38). (16 pages).

 

Waltz, K. (1979) Theory of International Politics, New York: McGrave and Hill. Chapter:

1 ‘Laws and Theories’ (pp. 1-17)

2 ‘Reductionist Theories’ (pp. 18-37)

3 ‘Systemic Approaches and Theories’ (pp. 38-59)

4 ‘Reductionist and Systemic Theories’ (pp. 60-78)

and 6 ‘Anarchic Orders and Balances of Power’ (pp. 102-128) (104 pages).

 

Neumann, I. B. and Sending, (2007) ‘The International’ as Governmentality’, Millennium: Journal of International Studies, vol.35(3), pp. 677-701. (24 pages).

(In total: 144 or 165)

 

10. Reflexivity I

 

...

 

11. Reflexivity II

 

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III. Implications of the four methodologies for judging the quality of research

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ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Oral
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assessment
  • Grade 12 is given for an outstanding performance: the student lives up to the course's goal description in an independent and convincing manner with no or few and minor shortcomings
  • Grade 7 is given for a good performance: the student is confidently able to live up to the goal description, albeit with several shortcomings
  • Grade 02 is given for an adequate performance: the minimum acceptable performance in which the student is only able to live up to the goal description in an insecure and incomplete manner

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 28
  • English
  • 28