Seminar in Research Design
This seminar focuses on the design of research in the social sciences. The components of the research proposal serve as the core components of the course. Course sessions will address (1) how to conceptualize research problems; (2) how to ask productive research questions; (3) how to identify the kinds of information necessary to answer those questions; (4) how to identify “the literature” relevant to the problem and position a project in a way that allows for making a useful intervention into that conversation; (5) the kinds of methods that will produce that information; and (6) how to analyze social data of various kinds in order to answer research questions. The course will also teach students to write convincingly about all of these aspects of research design. In the course we will also discuss the nitty gritty of how to write a winning research proposal, and will address, for instance, evaluation criteria and how proposals are reviewed, how to make your proposal stand out, and how to find research funds in an increasingly difficult funding climate. The final product for the course will be a completed research proposal in which all these elements are integrated in a sound logical framework. The course will be relevant to students preparing to undertake scholarly or “applied” research, including graduate students in the social sciences and some students in the natural sciences who are in the process of planning research projects or who are preparing to write research proposals.
Image credit: Pieter van der Heyden after Pieter Bruegel the Elder (Netherlandish, ca. 1525–1569), The Battle about Money. After 1570. Metropolitan Museum of Art.