International Relations Research Training Methods

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Federica Bicchi CLM 4.13 and Dr Tomila Lankina CLM 6.07


This course is compulsory on the MPhil/ PhD in International Relations. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course intended for first-year International Relations Department research students.

Course content

This course provides an introduction to methodology and research methods relevant to undertaking a research degree in International Relations. The principal approaches to contemporary research in the main branches of International Relations will be addressed. These include: formal analysis, behaviouralism; quantitative and qualitative methods; comparative case study approaches; documentary and discourse analysis; and different modes of theoretical argument. In addition the course will introduce students to the background debates in philosophy of social science that underpin different methodological approaches. The purpose of the course is to help students identify the appropriate methodological approach for their project; it is not intended as a training in research techniques as such. Students are advised to attend School-based inter-disciplinary seminars on statistical techniques, survey methods, interviewing and any other relevant courses offered by the Methodology Institute. All students not already familiar with IBM PCs, should register on the Computer Service induction courses early in MT and complete the sessions 'Introduction to PCs', 'Word 2000', and 'EndNote'.


9 hours of seminars in the MT. 9 hours of seminars in the LT.

The course will consist of 12 seminars in MT and LT (IR501). Details of individual meetings and detailed readings will be provided at the beginning of the course. In addition, all students must participate in the Research Design Workshop (IR509), and at least one of the Department's several workshops where staff and research students present preliminary papers and discuss common problems of current research.

Indicative reading

Alexander L. George and Andrew Bennett, Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences (MIT Press, 2005); Frank P. Harvey and Michael Brecher (Eds.), Evaluating Methodology in International Studies (University of Michigan Press, 2002); Gary King, Robert O. Keohane and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Enquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton University Press, 1994); David Marsh and Gerry Stoker (Eds.), Theory and Methods in Political Science (Macmillan, 1995); Peter Burnham, Karin Gilland, Wyn Grant & Zig Layton-Henry, Research Methods in Politics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008); Detlef F. Sprinz Yael & Wolinsky-Nahmias (Eds.) Models, Numbers and Cases: methods for studying International Relations (University of Michigan Press, 2004); Stephen Van Evera, Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science (Cornell University Press, 1997).

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2012/13: Unavailable

Average class size 2012/13: Unavailable

Value: Non-assessed

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information