Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Spring 2020



Course Number

DIPL 6311

Course Description

The primary objective of this course is to produce a well-researched, high quality paper by applying the principles of and approaches in empirical scientific research you saw in DIPL 6310 (and for which you have received a course grade of “C” or above) to actual research endeavors. That is, the primary objective is knowledge production on relevant topics in international relations. The secondary objective is to understand and critically analyze studies conducted by other scholars, as it would be virtually impossible to write a quality paper without understanding the state of knowledge/research in a particular topic. That is, the secondary objective is critical consumption of existing knowledge. As in any legitimate research endeavor, therefore, the course begins with the development of a well-conceived and well-developed research proposal (or research design) that will culminate in the production of a well-researched paper. I understand that you have all submitted a research proposal/design in fulfilment of the requirements in DIPL 6310; therefore, all students are expected to include, among other things, the following, both in the proposal and in the completed research paper:

(1) Description of the problem/issue and why it is significant or important. This section includes statement of the problem/issue and why it is of academic and/or policy interest, the research question(s) raised, and the hypothesis(es)/proposition(s) formulated.

(2) Literature review and how the study is related to studies that have been conducted previously. What will the study add to the existing knowledge on the issue? In other words, one needs to locate the problem within the extant literature and identify the gap/void to be filled.

(3) Variable definition/conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement (the latter is especially important if the study is quantitative), and the design and data collection methods.

(4) Analysis techniques (statistical or otherwise), and why this is a particularly appropriate approach for the study.

(5) Result interpretation, discussion, and/or conclusion.

(6) Bibliography (of cited works).

In order to help you to accomplish the primary and secondary objectives, among other things, you will critically read three articles published in reputable journals. Based on your readings, you will submit a critical analysis on each, focusing on whether or not items #1 thru #6 listed above have been sufficiently addressed. You have to be specific in your assessment of the published research! That is, you need to quote to indicate the presence and, if not, indicate the absence thereof.

This course may be seen as the Master’s program “capstone” course, where you are expected to show what you have learned over the last two years in the program by producing a well-conceived, thoroughly-researched, and meticulously-prepared paper of publishable quality. Therefore, you are required to spend ample time to plan and equally ample time to write the best paper you can possibly write.

Note: Students who intend to conduct interviews may have to seek approval from the Office of Institutional Research Board (IRB), located in the Presidents Hall, especially if the data collection procedure(s) involves risk to human subjects and if the findings are to be disseminated outside of the classroom. This is an issue which Seton Hall University, the State of New Jersey, and the Federal Government see with utmost concern, especially if the interview and any other data collection method involve more than “minimal risk” to the research subjects. Since research involving human subjects may not begin without the IRB approval, you need to see the instructor to file the necessary papers as soon as possible. Given the lengthy process and the time needed for IRB approval, it is important to seriously consider the feasibility of conducting research involving human subjects. Completion of the research in one semester may be hard to meet unless IRB approval was granted well ahead of time.