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Method of assessment

The philosophy of the course is to help you acquire progressively the bricks and tools necessary to build your own research project. In weeks 1-2, you will define a topic and specify your research question. You may consult the lecturer in this respect. In any case, the topic shall be related to research of socialization processes. That is, you may want to explore socialization into democratic values, environmental attitudes, religious convictions, European integration, genitale mutilation, development aid, capitalism --to give but a few examples. You will need to validate your question theoretically by using the library; for recommended accounts see readings. Based on existing accounts, you will then formulate hypotheses. Using the course readings, you will select one or several methods that could be applied to your question. You will tailor them and plan field investigation and/or document analysis. After discussion with the lecturer, you will start realising a first part of the investigation, possibly of the analysis too. This will be summarized and presented in the "formative essay". Based on the comments and feedback, received through the formative essay feedback and the mini-symposium, you will then write a final report about the successive steps of your research, discussing all along the choices you made and pending issues. You will introduce all relevant ideas from specific personal readings. The final report presents the "summative essay" and needs to be submitted as Tabula.

Assessed (summative) essay

You are expected to prepare a substantial piece of academic work that is well-argued, well-substantiated and based on a reasonably well-designed research proposal. At the heart of the essay lies the development of the research design and the empirical analysis rather than the theoretical argument. You are encouraged to take full advantage of the internationality and diversity of Warwick university, i.e. to conduct interviews with, observe, and analyse texts produced by your fellow students. This essay is worth 100% of assessment. Titles and final versions must be submitted in accordance with the guidelines specified in the BA Handbook; please read it very carefully, in particular also the advice on plagiarism. Essays must be submitted via Tabula.

Title and deadlines

You are free to choose the topic you wish to study in your essay -- but it needs to be directly linked to this module. You are required to discuss the topic with the lecturer; the precise title needs to be approved by her. Approval is on the basis of the formative essay and will be clearly specified on the feedback sheet. It is essential that you carry out a library search in advance of choosing a title. You are strongly encouraged to start working on your essay as from the beginning of the course and make use of the opportunities to get feedback from the lecturer at different stages, notably the formative essay and the mini-symposium. In essence, the summative essay builds on the formative essay. It can be seen as its extended, substantiated and peformulated final version.

Steps / Requirement Submission Date
(1) Formative essay Nov. 12th
(2) Mini symposium Dec. 2nd
(3) Summative essay Jan 14th


Outline of the essay

The structure of the essay should be modelled on an academic article from a peer-reviewed journal; maximum is 2,500 words. It is good practice to include a short abstract at the front of the essay. The abstract should sum up the core thesis, argument or findings of the essay and their significance. It should be around 200 words and will not count as part of the 2,500 words for the essay. Your research essay should contain at least the elements described below:

Topic. What is your research project about? What research question do you ask? What is(are) your hypothese(s)? How do they relate to your research question? Do they cover it completely or do you sacrifice some aspects? Do they form a coherent set? How do they relate to the literature?

Material/data. What material do you plan to obtain/use? Why is it relevant to your research question? Are there any other material or documents that you could have used but that you decided not to, and for what reasons? Do you expect specific difficulties in accessing your field or your material, and if so, how will you overcome them?

Method. This section and the next shall be your main development. What method(s) do you opt for, and if need be, do you choose any variant? Will you adapt it in some way to your question, field, material, or to other constraints? What schedule do you realistically plan to follow (steps, order or steps, etc.)? What equipment and/or collaboration do you need? What are the most relevant case studies you are inspired by, or reversely, what cases do you not want to follow?

Methodological issues. Here you should address the difficulties and dilemmas of research that will (maybe already did) present themselves to you. Each will be more or less relevant, depending on your specific method. If you plan field investigation or interviews, what position and what role do you plan to hold or define for yourself? If you plan to analyse documents, what are their limits and biases? How do you plan to collect and store information during your investigations? Do you expect resistances and if so, how do you plan to overcome them?

Interpretation. This part should be more developed if your project relies on archival/documentary analysis. What template do you intend to follow in the interpretation? What kind of objects do you plan to look for in the collected material: actions, attitudes, events, actors, relationships, opinions, values, emotions, references…? What structures between objects do you intend to identify: categories, networks, oppositions, similarities, levels…? How do you plan to relate the material to your hypotheses?

Other issues. What ethical challenges do you expect and how will you solve them? Do you plan to deliver any feedback to your observees? Will you develop a specific writing strategy? How will you incorporate your material into your final report?