How to design research in International relations that matters
Writing a research study such as a master thesis is not only an obligation to complete your degree, but also an opportunity to shape political discourse. In this hands-on course, we explore what this means in practice.
To address this, we first must gain an understanding of the role of political science in politics. The conclusion from this discussion is disappointing. As a master student your opportunities are limited.
Yet, this is not a reason to give up the cause. If your research project is carefully designed, it can still make a difference. We discuss the options and choices for conceptualizing research problems and what theories and methods aid in the quest for relevance.
Along the discussions in class, you are asked to formulate a research project that matters. This will be also your final assessment, and may become (or not) your actual dissertation project.
Our discussion and your project will be firmly focused on international relations and questions of world politics and international security. This is a particularly demanding context as it requires you to think beyond Danish politics and deal with the complexity of global affairs, international organizations and diplomacy. A solid foundation in these matters is required to complete the course successfully.
MSc in Political Science
MSc in Social Science
MSc in Security Risk Management
The course is open to:
- Exchange and Guest students from abroad
- Credit students from Danish Universities
- Open University students
You will learn how political scientists can make a difference in political discourse
You will learn what forms of knowledge resonates in political and societal discourses
You will learn what practices academics and other experts adopt to influence target groups
You will aquire skills of how to design a small scale research project that matters
You will learn different techniques such as problem construction, ideal-typification, concept formation and modelling
You will learn how to write and present research in narratives that are accessible.
You will train how to give presentations and summarize complex matters.
Teaching and learning is through seminars, presentations, and the development of a research project.
Abend, Gabriel. 2008. “The Meaning of ‘Theory.’” Sociological Theory 26(2): 173–99.
Alvesson, Mats, and Jörgen Sandberg. 2011. “Generating Research Results through Problematization.” Academy of Management Review 36(2): 247–71.
Aradau, Claudia, and Jef Huysmans. 2013. “Critical Methods in International Relations: The Politics of Techniques, Devices and Acts.” European Journal of International Relations 20(3): 596–619.
Aradau, Claudia, and Jef Huysmans. 2019. “Assembling Credibility: Knowledge, Method and Critique in Times of ‘Post-Truth.’” Security Dialogue 50(1): 40–58.
Austin, Jonathan Luke, and Rocco Bellanova. 2019. “Doing and Mediating Critique: An Invitation to Practice Companionship.” Security Dialogue 50: 1–27.
Bacchi, Carol Lee. 2009. What’s the Problem Represented to Be? Frenchs Forrest: Pearson.
Berling, Trine Villumsen and Christian Bueger. 2013. Practical Reflexivity and Political Science: Strategies for Relating Scholarship and Political Practice, PS: Political Science & Politics 46(1), 115-119.
Bohman, James. 2003. “Critical Theory as Practical Knowledge: Participants, Observers, and Critics.” In The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, eds. Stephen P. Turner and Paul A. Roth. Malden, MA; Oxford, Carlton: Blackwell Publishers, 91–109.
Bueger, Christian. 2018. Experts in an Adventure with Pirates: A Story of Somali Piracy Expertise, in “Assembling Exclusive Expertise: Conflict Resolution Knowledge in Practice“, edited by Anna Leander and Ole Wæver, London: Routledge, 40-56.
Flyvbjerg, Bent. 2001. Making Social Science Matter. Why Social Inquiry Fails and How It Can Succeed Again. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.
Keohane, Robert O. 2008. “Big Questions in the Study of World Politics.” In The Oxford Handbook of International Relations, edited by Christian Reus-Smit and Duncan Snidal, 708–15. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Khalidi, Muhammad Ali. 2010. “Interactive Kinds.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 61(2): 335–60.
Lake, David A. 2011. “Why ‘Isms’ Are Evil: Theory, Epistemology, and Academic Sects as Impediments to Understanding and Progress.” International Studies Quarterly 55 (2): 465–80
Latour, Bruno. 2004. “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern.” Critical Inquiry 30 (2): 225–48.
Peters, Kimberley. 2017. Your Human Geography Dissertation: Designing, Doing, Delivering. SAGE Publications: London
Sandberg, Joergen, and Mats Alvesson. 2011. “Ways of Constructing Research Questions: Gap-Spotting or Problematization?” Organization 18 (1): 23–44.
Schulte, Christopher M. 2018. “Deleuze, Concept Formation, and the Habit of Shorthand Inquiry.” Qualitative Inquiry 24(3): 194–202.
Swedberg, Richard. 2017. “Theorizing in Sociological Research: A New Perspective, a New Departure?” Annual Review of Sociology 43: 189–206.
Torraco, Richard J. 2016. “Writing Integrative Literature Reviews: Using the Past and Present to Explore the Future.” Human Resource Development Review 15(4): 404–28.
Yanow, Dvora. 2000. Conducting Interpretative Policy Analysis. Qualitative Research Methods. Vol. 47. Thousand Oaks; London; New Delhi: Sage Publications.
Participants require a bachelor degree, and must have a solid foundation in international relations, security or related fields.
When registered you will be signed up for exam.
- Full-degree students – sign up at Selfservice on KUnet
- Exchange and guest students from abroad – sign up through Mobility Online and Selfservice
- Credit students from Danish universities - sign up through this website.
- Open University students - sign up through this website.
The dates for the exams are found here Exams – Faculty of Social Sciences - University of Copenhagen (ku.dk)
Please note that it is your own responsibility to check for overlapping exam dates.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
- Type of assessment details
- Portfolio exam
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No 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)
- Class Instruction
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
- Department of Political Science, Study Council
- Department of Political Science
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Christian Bueger (16-676c766d77786d6572326679696b6976446d6a77326f7932686f)
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Courseinformation of students