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 (which you covered 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 in a particular topic. That is, the secondary objective is critical consumption of existing knowledge on relevant topics in international relations. 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 quality term 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 six items, 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. Please do not write general statements; rather, you have to be specific in your assessment of the published research! That is, you need to quote or indicate the presence of items #1 thru #6 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.
Bariagaber, Assefaw Dr., "Master’s Research Project" (2021). Diplomacy Syllabi. 424.