The module is based on a broad variety of readings, complementing textbook chapters with journal articles. The methodological readings discuss theoretical issues related to each method while the applied readings are examples of original research using each method, often in the field of socialization research. It is crucial for the successful completion of this module to read at least the methodological readings each week prior to the respective session. For the weekly readings, please see box at your right-hand side.
Please note that we will use the della Porta/ Keating book a lot, so it might be worth buying this book. The Klotz/ Prakash book is a good alternative. The other books may prove useful to students looking for additional coverage of some of the course topics. For instance, the book by Goertz/ Mahoney offers a well-argued account of the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research techniques. There are copies of these books in the bookshop and the Library.
- Della Porta, D. and M. Keating (eds.) (2008) Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences: A Pluralist Perspective. Cambridge UP.
- Klotz, A. and D. Prakash (eds.) (2008) Qualitative Methods in International Relations. A Pluralist Guide. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Gschwend, T. and F. Schimmelfennig (eds.) (2011) Research Design in Political Science. How to Practice What They Preach. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Goertz, G. and J. Mahoney (2012) A Tale of Two Cultures. Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences. Princeton UP.
In the seminars we discuss application of the respective techniques and methods to political science questions. Given the thematical focus on socialization research, the selected articles touch upon questions of attitude change. Students are expected to have at least skimmed the methodology sections in these articles as we will discuss these in our seminars and they will provide useful evidence for your research projects. Good introductions into the socialization and attitude research offer the following social-psychological or social-psychologically inspired work:
- Zimbardo P. and M. Leippe (1991) The Psychology of Attitude Change and Social Influence. McGraw-Hill.
- Searing, D., G. Wright, and G. Rabinowith (1976) The Primacy Principle: Attitude Change and Political Socialization, British Journal od Political Science 6(1): 83-113.
- Kelman, H. (1962) Changing Attitudes through International Activities, Journal of Social Issues 18(1): 67-87.
- Eagly, A., and S. Chaiken (1993) The Psychology of Attitudes. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.
It is essential that you keep up to date with developments in contemporary political science. Students are encouraged to read weekly one article in a journal of political science in addition to the seminar readings. As a matter of routine you should consult the most recent issues of a number of journals as they come into the library and establish for yourselves whether they contain pertinent articles. Examples of useful journals that present empirical-analytical research: American Political Science Review, European Journal of Political Research, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Politics, and World Politics. The aim is to learn from others and to think about alternative designs and what the consequences might have been. To this end, a good exercise is to skim the published work strategically. That is, you should read purposefully, and look out for the important “stuff” in a text:
- The central question or puzzle the author seeks to answer or resolve;
- The definition of the dependent variable, or what the author wants to explain;
- The main independent variables the author(s) thinks are at work;
- The theory, or the rationale, that links independent to dependent variables; why should certain things be related?
- The author’s research design: the types of evidence used to test hypotheses, where the evidence comes from, and if you are convinced by it all.
You should also consult one or more serious newspapers/magazines such as the Financial Times, Independent, the Guardian, or the Economist on a regular basis. You should read them and determine the weaknesses and strengths of the studies described and think about a (more) appropriate research design. How would you study the themes presented using qualitative research methods?