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Final dissertation seminar

année académique

Titulaire(s) du cours

Emilie VAN HAUTE (Coordonnateur) et Alena PROKOP SOBOTOVA

Crédits ECTS


Langue(s) d'enseignement


Contenu du cours

The common module questions what political science research is. It presents the main theoretical approaches and research methods in political science and international relations. It covers the first steps of the research process. In preparation of each lesson, students are required to have read the corresponding reading material.

The exercises aim at applying the political science research process. Each class is dedicated to a step in the process of scientific reasoning, which is explained, illustrated with examples, and then applied by the students.

Objectifs (et/ou acquis d'apprentissages spécifiques)

Intended Student Learning Outcome

  • To be able to find, read, understand and interpret most research published in political science journals

  • To understand the major theoretical approaches to political science research

  • To be familiar with various research methods in political science

  • To be able to identify and apply these approaches and methods in a research paper

  • To be able to develop a research design

  • To sharpen critical thinking

  • To develop writing skills

Méthodes d'enseignement et activités d'apprentissages

Class Format

The class format is organized around three equilibriums: theory and exercises, accumulation of knowledge and critical thinking; explanation and application. The workload is spread between the common module and the exercises. The common module is dedicated to the presentation and discussion of the main theoretical approaches and data collection and data analysis methods, as well as illustrations based on existing research.

The exercises are organized as a group seminar, with regular assignments. Each class consists of an explanation of a step in the research process (with illustrations), and an active application of the step in the research process by students (via practical exercises and development of their own research design for the Final Dissertation).

Overall, the course rests on an active preparation by the students. Students are expected to have read the material in preparation for each week.

Contribution au profil d'enseignement

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an understanding and appreciation of the terminology, concepts, theoretical approaches and research methods in political science. The course intends to teach students how to develop scientific research designs. Together with the exercises, the course prepares students to the writing of their final dissertation.

Références, bibliographie et lectures recommandées

Useful research methods references

Johnson J.B., Reynolds H.T., Political Science Research Methods, London, Sage, 2012, 7th edition.

Burnham P. et al, Research Methods in Politics, London, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008.

Heywood A., Key Concepts in Politics, New York, St Martin’s Press, 2000.

Support(s) de cours

  • Université virtuelle

Autres renseignements


Emilie van Haute (Professor)

  • Mondays 9:30-11:30
  • Contact: S Building, 11th floor, room 125 (S11.125); emilie.van.haute@ulb.be

Ana Andguladze (TA)

  • Wednesdays 10:00-12:00
  • Contact: S building – Office S.11.232; Phone: 02/650.48.81; Email: ana.andguladze@ulb.be

Camille Nessel (TA)

  • Monday 12:00-14:00
  • Contact: S Building, 11th floor, room 129 (S11.129); Camille.nessel@ulb.be

Julie Vander Meulen (TA)

  • Tuesdays 14:00-16:00
  • Contact: Institute for European Studies (39, avenue F.D. Roosevelt) – Office 305 on the 2nd floor (R39.2.305); Email: Julie.Vander.Meulen@ulb.be




    Méthode(s) d'évaluation

    • Travail personnel
    • Examen écrit
    • Présentation orale
    • Autre

    Travail personnel

    Examen écrit

    Présentation orale


    • Students performances will be assessed as follows:
    • Final exam: 40%
    • Exercises: 60%


    • It is MANDATORY to have a mark for both parts of the course – students who do not have a mark for both parts of the course will be marked as ABS (MISSING) until they do have a mark for both parts of the course POLID543.
    • It is also mandatory to register for the Final Dissertation via the online registration system. There are two mandatory deadlines: November 1st (pre-FD form) and December 22 (final FD form). Students who have failed to meet these deadlines will have a FAIL for the course POLID543, whatever their grade for the rest of the course. There is NO later deadline and NO retake session allowed for this course. Students who have not registered on time will NOT be allowed to submit their FD during this academic year.

    Construction de la note (en ce compris, la pondération des notes partielles)

    • Final exam (40%): grade is based on:
    • 2 questions
    • January session, retake session in August-September

    • Exercises (60%): grade is based on:
    • Sum of Quizzes (20%)
    • Critical review (20%)
    • Presentation in class (10%)
    • FD task 1 (10%)
    • Attendance is required (students must inform their TA in advance in case of missed class); max 2 bonus points (/12) for an active participation in class.
    • 2-point penalty (/12) for each FD task not submitted on time.

    Policy regarding deadlines

    Deadlines matter. All assignments must be submitted on time before the deadline. Assignments that are submitted after the due date will not be considered. Only serious and documented circumstances will be accepted as excuses (e.g. serious matters of health or other personal emergencies).

    Policy regarding students arriving late in the semester:

    If the students show that their late arrival is due to delays in their registration process (based on their letter of admission): They will have to submit all the missed FD tasks together.

    Other students will encounter the corresponding penalty for the missed assignments.


    Retake Session (August/September)

    • No retake session allowed if FD forms were not submitted on time
    • Students decide at their own risk whether they want to retake the exercises, the exam, or both
    • Students have to notify their choice to Emilie van Haute early July
    • Exercises: quizzes + critical review have to be taken/submitted online before the date of the exam. The critical review is doubled to compensate for the presentation in class and FD task 1 parts of the grade that are dropped for the retake session

    Langue(s) d'évaluation

    • anglais