Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Directed Study in International Relations

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT International Relations

DESCRIPTION As soon as their proposal is accepted, candidates will be expected to draw up a working plan with the help of their supervisor. They will attend relevant lectures that are useful for the research project, as well as research seminars and presentations that are organised by the Department.

The student is expected to prepare a research paper as agreed with the MA Coordinator and their supervisor, who will monitor his/her progress and provide feedback. The written work may be related to their dissertation.

A seminar paper will be presented before the MA/MPhil study group in the presence of academics within the Department.

Study-unit Aims:

The aim of the study-unit is to give the student the possibility to study a specific area that would enable him/her gain deeper insights into their field of research. This study-unit permits the student, under the direction of the supervisor, to chose a relevant field for his/her work. The student will also be provided with the opportunity to engage with other students and academics within the Department and exchange theoretical, conceptual and methodological approaches.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Relate methodological debates to their own field of research;
- Link theoretical constructs, epistemological and ontological issues to their area.

2. Skills

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Assess the validity of various methodological tools;
- Discuss their opportunities and limitations;
- Make methodological choices;
- Write the methodology chapter for their dissertation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Dillman, D. A., Smyth, J. D., & Christian, L. M. (2009). Internet, mail and mixed-mode surveys: The tailored design method. (3rd ed.). Hoboken: Wiley.
- Holstein, J. A., & Gubrium, J. F. (1995). The active interview (Sage University Papers Series on Qualitative Research Methods: 37). Thousand Oaks: Sage.
- Hollis, Martin and Steve Smith (1991). Explaining and Understanding International Relations Oxford: Clarendon Press. (selections)
- King, G., R. O. Keohane and S. Verba (1994): Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
- Klotz, Audie and Deepa Prakash (2008): Qualitative Methods in International Relations: A Pluralist guide. Palgrave Macmillan.
- Malici, Akan and Smith Elizabeth (2012) Political Science Research in Practice. London: Routledge.
- Nichols, P. (1991). Social survey methods: a field-guide for development workers (Development Guidelines: 6). Oxford: Oxfam.
- Yin, R. (2003). Case Study Research: Design and Methods (3rd ed. Applied Social Research Methods Series: 5). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications Inc. (selections)

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Seminar Paper See note below Yes 30%
Assignment See note below Yes 70%
Note: Assessment due will vary according to the study-unit availability.


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.