The purpose of this 2-day intensive course is to walk participants through all the main, generic steps of a solid social scientific research design. The course focuses in particular on three main aspects:
(1) How to conduct some upstream and over-arching preparatory steps: how to explore a given empirical phenomenon of interest? How to make an exploratory literature search? How to define one’s epistemological position? How to formulate a preliminary and then a more consolidated research question? How to rigorously formulate hypotheses (if applicable)? How to decide on the balance between theory and empirics?
(2) How to make an informed choice between at least 4 potential ‘families’ of research designs: ‘quantitative’ (variable-oriented), ‘qualitative’ (case-oriented and/or interpretivist), ‘comparative’ and ‘mixed methods/multi-method’?
(3) Based on the 2 above aspects: how to produce one’s own bird’s eye view of one’s whole research design, i.e. a first visual/sequential representation of the whole research process?
The course alternates lectures and more interactive sessions, based on the participants’ own research projects.
About the lecturer
Benoît Rihoux is full professor in political science at UCLouvain, where he chairs the CESPOL (Centre for political science and comparative politics). He is involved in several research projects around his own topics of specialization (political parties, social movements, organizational change) as well as around various other topics that can be better comprehended through systematic comparison. He plays a leading role in the development and dissemination of innovative comparative methods, in particular configurational comparative methods (CCMs) and QCA, applicable in many fields and research disciplines. His research/teaching also covers, more broadly, issues of research designs, research management and professional skill-building. He is the initiator and co-ordinator of the COMPASSS international network (www.compasss.org) around CCMs and also steers broader initiatives around methodology as joint Academic Convenor of the ECPR Methods School.
Please note that other external participants than the one mentioned in the target group above are asked to pay a small course fee. For inquiries please contact the GIGA DP Student Assistant