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JOHN CABOT UNIVERSITY

COURSE CODE: "PL 470"
COURSE NAME: "International Affairs Senior Seminar"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2021
SYLLABUS

INSTRUCTOR: Michael Driessen
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 10:00-11:15 AM
TOTAL NO. OF CONTACT HOURS: 45
CREDITS: 3
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Senior Standing
OFFICE HOURS:

COURSE DESCRIPTION:
This course exposes students to major examples of current, ground-breaking and policy-relevant political research in the field of international affairs and world politics. The course is designed to help students to synthesize the skills and substantive knowledge of their major and apply it to current issues of the practice of world politics or to significant research problems. Students will learn to organize and produce work that could be presented to governments, international governmental and non-governmental organizations, research institutes, media outlets or global firms. Students will be required to make oral presentations, employing methods of international affairs, and display familiarity with the use of qualitative and quantitative data. Students will also engage in a research project of their own, write policy briefs, and present their work.
SUMMARY OF COURSE CONTENT:
This capstone seminar (i) exposes students to major examples of current, ground-breaking and policy-relevant political research, methods, and models, with a special focus on the subfield of international affairs and world politics. Moreover, the seminar (ii) is designed to help students employ and present such research in a professional way, synthesizing and applying the skills and substantive knowledge of their major to current issues of world politics, international public policy-making, or significant research problems. The seminar offers a forum for students to develop, present, and discuss professional and scholarly projects. In the first part of the seminar, students examine research, methods, and professional techniques. In the second part of the seminar students present their own research papers or policy papers (“white papers”) in class based on previously circulated manuscripts, in addition to explorations of methods and examples of global political research producing and using quantitative and qualitative data. 
LEARNING OUTCOMES:

 

Students will learn to organize and produce research that could be presented in academic contexts, and to governments, international organizations, research institutes, media outlets or global firms. Students will hereby be required to engage with cutting-edge research output; make professional oral presentations of their work; employ methods of international affairs; and display familiarity with the use of qualitative and quantitative data. Students will engage in a research project of their own, write policy briefs, and provide research reflections. They exercise to present the work of scholars and students’ own work, which will be discussed in class in substantive aspects and in terms of presentation. Seminar participants will train and display their scholarly and professional skills.

 

Note: The JCU Library has kindly prepared the following webpage for our course: Link

If you are not familiar with it already, the Library’s Political Science Research Guide is also very helpful: Link

 

TEXTBOOK:
NONE
REQUIRED RESERVED READING:
NONE

RECOMMENDED RESERVED READING:
NONE
GRADING POLICY
-ASSESSMENT METHODS:
AssignmentGuidelinesWeight
First Draft of Paper 15%
Paper Presentation 10%
Outline and Bibliography 10%
Final Paper 35%
Participation 15%
Basic Methodology Quiz 15%

-ASSESSMENT CRITERIA:
AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

-ATTENDANCE REQUIREMENTS:


ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY!
ACADEMIC HONESTY
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
STUDENTS WITH LEARNING OR OTHER DISABILITIES
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.

SCHEDULE

Introduction to the Seminar: Working in and on International Politics

Readings: None

PART I: CONCEPTS, METHODS, MODELS REVISITED

: Issues, Methodologies, Theories, and Values in Global Political Research

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath, “Political Research,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (Oxford University Press, 2012/2017), pp.1-22 [Chapter 1] 

: Philosophy of Knowledge in Political Science

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath, “Research Design,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills: pp. 44-48; 53-69 (2012 edition) or pp. 44-49; 54-70 (2017 edition) [parts of Chapter 2 & 3]

Asking and Answering Research Questions: Formulating Puzzles & Hypotheses

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (Oxford University Press, 2012) “Asking Questions,” and “Answering Questions,” (Chapters 5 & 6 in 2012 edition, chapters 4 & 5 in 2017 edition)

Research Question Workshop I

Workshop Assignment 1: bring a draft of your question to class and circulate to the group

Readings: Max Weber (1958), “Science as a Vocation,” Daedalus, (87)1,

Research Question Workshop II

Workshop Assignment 2: Name the most important term of your research topic. Then: 1) Provide a working definition for that term (conceptualization) and 2) Name one way you could measure it in reality (operationalization)

Effective Research Designs

Library Session This Week

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills : “Research Design,” & “Comparative Research” (Chapters 7 & 9 in 2012 edition, Chapters 6 & 9 in 2017 edition)

Doing Research I

Readings: James Mahoney (2004), “Comparative-Historical Methodology,” Annual Review of Sociology (30)

Clifford Geertz, “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” available at:

 Doing Research II

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills  “Ethnography and Participant Observation,” and “Textual Analysis,” (Chapters 12 & 13 of 2012 edition or Chapters 13 & 14 of 2017 edition)

: Quantitative Analysis Principles

Readings: Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath,” Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills “ Bivariate and Multivariate Anlaysis,” (read all of chapter 15 and pp.s 391-402 of chapter 16 in 2012 edition or all of chapter 16 and pp.s 417-431 in 2017 edition)

METHODOLOGY QUIZ

Writing Policy

Readings: Bidisha Biswas & Agnieszka Paczynska (2015), “Teaching theory, writing policy: Integrating lessons from foggy bottom into the classroom,” PS: Political Science & Politics, 48 (1): 157-161. Link

Mapping Policy Clusters (or how to chart out your future career)

Readings: James G. McGann (2019) “2018 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report,” University of Pennsylvania     

             Workshop Assignment 3: Bring to Class a list of the top 5 entrants in each of the following categories as relates to your research: 1) top 5 scholars working on your area of research; 2) top 5 graduate school programs in your area of research; 3) top 5 think tanks/NGOs in your area of research; 4) top 5 policy briefs ever written on your area of research; 5) top 5 International/Governmental Organizations working on your area of research

Exploring Writing Styles I

                Workshop Assignment 4: Map out a policy-oriented research article for your project

  Exploring Writing Styles II

              Workshop Assignment 4: Map out a policy-oriented research article for your project

Outline and Bibliography Due by

 

Students are required to sign up for a 30-minute meeting with Professor Driessen between March 18-April 6

  One on One Writing Workshops  

 

DRAFT OF TERM RESEARCH/POLICY PAPER DUE; TO BE CIRCULATED AMONG PARTICIPANTS

PART II: DOING AND PRESENTING IR RESEARCH AND POLICY OPTIONS

 Student Presentations & Discussion 

Presenter 1:                                                       Discussant 1:

Presenter 2:                                                       Discussant 2:

 

FINAL TERM RESEARCH/POLICY PAPER DUE on FINAL EXAM DATE