Banerjee - IR750 Methodology and Thesis Selection

SYLLABUS FOR GUIDANCE - IR 750 METHODOLOGY AND THESIS SELECTION (Spring 2013)

Professor Sanjoy Banerjee

NOTA BENE! SYLLABUS IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY! THE INSTRUCTOR WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MOST RECENT SYLLABUS ON COURSE START DATE!

Textbook at Franciscan Shops:

Gary King et. al. Designing social inquiry.

The purpose of this class to get students started on theses sophisticated in their methodology and stance in the disciplinary debate. We will cover a few methods in the first nine weeks. Students may use these or other methods in their papers for this class. The three papers due in this class may be foundations for three IR MA thesis chapters. They may be used, in whole or in parts, in the actual theses provided the student's thesis committee approves. There is no guarantee or presumption that the thesis committee will approve of the inclusion in the thesis of writing from this class, regardless of the grade received. The authority of MA thesis committees is in no way constrained by IR 750. The IR department does not prohibit the verbatim use of writing from IR 750 in the thesis, while it does prohibit the verbatim use of writing from all other classes in the thesis.

Plagiarism, as defined by SFSU Plagiarism - Office of Student Conduct, is virtually impossible in this class, but nonetheless prohibited.

GRADING:

Grading will be on the basis of mastery learning. If a student is dissatisfied with her/his grade on an assignment, s/he may redo it for a higher grade.

PRESENTATIONS:

Each student must present their method and their theory and data using the guidelines for the fourth and fifth written assignments. For all presentations, please e-mail me the Power Point file by the day before the scheduled date. I make comments on the presentations in class and return the graded files by e-mail. Students should take notes on my comments and not wait to receive the graded files before starting revisions.

WRITTEN ASSIGNMENTS:

There are five written assignments due for this class. Submit all as e-mail attachments. They are

  1. A 4-page paper with thesis hypothesis and summaries of a work supporting the hypothesis and one opposing it. State a falsifiable hypothesis. Explain why it is important. Summarize a published work supportive of what you propose, and another that you will show to be wrong. (Due in Class 2)
  2. A 20-item annotated bibliography for the thesis. Write a hypothesis statement at the top. For each item, explain in about forty words its relation to your hypothesis. Four to six items should oppose your hypothesis. (Due in Class 4)
  3. A 10-page literature review for the thesis. Write latest version of hypothesis. Summarize recent literature supporting your hypothesis (about 8 pages). Summarize opposing positions (2 pages). (Due in Class 8)
  4. A 10-page method and ontology statement for the thesis. Write latest version of hypothesis. Summarize your method and ontology. For the latter, write out a list of primitive and emergent objects. Identify agents and structures if applicable to your ontology. Explain why your method fits your theoretical assumptions better than two other methods, identifying objects in your hypothesis absent or invisible in the rejected methods. Give an example of its rigorous application to relevant data. Identify input data, methodological transformation, and output data structures. Discuss how output data structures support your hypothesis and oppose a published rival hypothesis. (Due in Class 11)
  5. A 10-page theory and data analysis for the thesis. Write latest version of hypothesis. Write a theoretical statement (2-3 pages) for your thesis, specifying supporting theories and your own innovations. Present some contrary theory. Present data showing your theory to be right and the contrary theory to be wrong in answering at least six independent questions. Include and support the table below. (Due in Class 15)
Theory and Data Table
  Your theory Contrary theory Data
Question 1 Yes. Summary Answer. No. Quote. Yes. Summary
Question 2… Yes. Summary Answer. No. Quote. Yes. Summary
Question 6 Yes. Summary Answer. No. Quote. Yes. Summary.

CLASS SCHEDULE:

Students should find and acquire the readings. If you have any difficulty, send me an e-mail and I will send you the reading.

Class 1: Discussion of how to choose a thesis topic. Historical structural analysis.

Reading (to be commenced): D. Dessler “What’s at stake in the agent-structure debate” International organization 43, 3; J. Mahoney and G. Goertz “A tale of two cultures” Political analysis 14, 3;

Class 2: Discussion of methodological issues.

Reading: S. Banerjee “Actions, practices, and historical structures,” International Relations of the Asia-Pacific 2, 2; M. Somers “The narrative constitution of identity” Theory and society 23, 5; T. Buthe “Taking temporality seriously” American political science review 96, 3

Class 3: Discussion of networked historical structures.

J. Mahoney “Path dependence in historical sociology” Theory and society 29, 4; G. Krippner “The financialization of the American economy” Socio-economic review 3, 2; Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson “Winner take all politics” Politics & society 38, 2

Class 4: Discussion of historical trends and feedback.

J. Morin “The two-level games of transnational networks” International interactions 36, 4 (get from me); C. Tugal “Transforming everyday life” Theory and society 38, 5; A. Kane, “Reconstructing culture in historical explanation” History and theory 39, 3.

Class 5: Discussion of global sociology.

Reading: G. Duffy et. al., “Language games” International studies quarterly 42, 2; D. Nabers “Filling the void of meaning” Foreign policy analysis 5, 2; T. Smith, “Narrative boundaries and the dynamics of ethnic conflict and conciliation,” Poetics 35, 1

Class 6: Discussion of politics and language.

Reading: T. Balzacq “The three faces of securitization” European journal of international relations 11, 2; R. Doty, “Foreign policy as social construction” International studies quarterly 37, 3; C. Cruz “Identity and persuasion” World politics 52, 3.

Class 7: Discussion of politics and language.

Reading: Designing social inquiry, Chs. 1-3

Class 8: Discussion of scientific inference.

Reading: Designing social inquiry, Chs. 4-6;

Class 9: Discussion of scientific inference.

Classes 10-15 and final exam period: Methodology and Theory & Data presentations.

NOTA BENE! SYLLABUS IS FOR GUIDANCE ONLY! THE INSTRUCTOR WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE MOST RECENT SYLLABUS ON COURSE START DATE!