International Relations Research Design Workshop

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Mark Hoffman OLD 1.09 (for first year research students),

Professor Margot Light (for second year research students).



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

This workshop is compulsory for all first year and second year International Relations Department (IRD) research students and open to other interested IRD research students.

Course content

In the first year, this workshop will address issues concerning the formulation and design of the PhD research project. Its principal objective is to assist first year research students in designing a well-thought out and manageable thesis. It seeks to do so by providing a forum in which first year students discuss their research topic, the particular set of questions they intend to address and the methods they wish to use with other members of the workshop. Its aim is to provide students with constructively critical observations about their research project and the problems they may confront. It also seeks to promote an esprit d'corps amongst the first-year research students by familiarising them with the work of their peers.


In the second year, the focus will be on preparing students for their upgrade Research Panel in the summer. Exactly how the workshop will proceed will be decided by the members in their first session, but the aim is to give students the opportunity to update and refine their research proposals, get peer reactions to the draft chapters on which the decision to upgrade will be based, and also to talk to each other about the common problems they face. There will also be some sessions to consider such 'professional concerns' as the balance to be struck between teaching and research, the role of presentations at conferences, seminars and similar professional gatherings.


In the first year, the workshop will meet for 11 sessions starting in week 4 of the MT. There will be initial discussions of various theoretical traditions and different approaches to research design within International Relations.  All first-year students are required to give a presentation outlining their research to the seminar, a copy of their research proposal (of no more than 5,000 word) being circulated in advance to the workshop participants. There will be two presentations per meeting. Students must also attend IR501 Research Methods Training Seminar and participate in at least one of the Department's other research workshops.


In the second year, the workshop will meet for 10 sessions starting in week five of the MT. All members of the workshop are required to present one or more draft chapters of their theses. They will need to provide a copy of the chapter for prior circulation to the workshop participants. Students must also participate in at least one of the Department's other research workshops.


This course is not assessed.

Key facts

Department: International Relations

Total students 2015/16: 22

Average class size 2015/16: Unavailable

Value: Non-assessed

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