Remedial Quantitative Skills

Research Paper Preparation
Weight of the course
Course Leader
Teaching Methods
Kees Biekart
Major Convenors (names tbc), Kees Biekart, Avé Baxa-Rodriguez,
Peter van Helden, Lidwien Lamboo, Joy Misa, Saskia Scheffer,
John Steenwinkel, Michel Wesseling
Participatory Lecture, Workshop, Computer exercise
Attendance: 100%
Vlada Tchirikova
Learning objectives
The course is designed to support the development of good quality Research Papers, and to
prepare students on the key components of writing their Research Paper. The course will also
familiarize students with concepts and practices of information literacy in order to develop an
active information management style.
Course description
The course begins in Term 1 with a plenary session for all MA students to hear a range of
Research Paper experiences from students of the ‘old batch’. As information technology is
increasingly being used as a tool to create, access, and manage information, there is a need to
also offer training in information technology skills. In a number of subsequent small group
workshops, practical assignments will allow students to develop their practical skills in identifying
information needs, searching effectively, evaluating information found, and referencing the
consulted literature correctly in scholarly writings (e.g. assignments, essays, Research Paper).
In Term 2, a combination of plenary sessions and workshops is offered to systematically develop
the competences needed for the development of a Research Paper Proposal (from which
supervisors and second readers can be identified), followed by the elaboration of the (more
detailed) Research Paper Design. There will be a series of plenaries designed to support the
workshops (organized per Major), covering key issues that can arise in conducting research
leading to a good quality Research Paper Design. The plenaries will be interdisciplinary and
relevant to both field-work and desk-work oriented research.
The plenary topics will deal at least with the following questions:
What is a Research Paper and how does it connect to your other learning at ISS?
How to move from a ‘topic’ to a manageable researchable question?
How to do a literature search and what can we learn from texts produced by previous
What is good referencing and selecting academic quotes?
What is a theoretical framework, and what is an analytical framework?
How to combine theory and data in a concrete research design?
What principles can guide selecting cases to be investigated and assessing the
accuracy and representativeness of data?
How to format and index my Research Paper?
What are ethical procedures and risk assessments?
The course will end in late May (Term 3) with individual students presenting their Research Paper
Designs in the smaller Major and/or Specialization groups during the so-called ‘Research Paper
Design seminars’, in which their supervisor, second reader and fellow students actively provide
feedback. These seminars are only meant to improve the design and will be organized in
sufficient time to allow revision before formal submission for assessment.
The revised Research Paper Design will be assessed on a pass/resubmission basis.
Indicative reading
Booth, W.C, G. G. Colomb, and J. M. Williams (2008 or earlier editions) The Craft of Research.
London, The University of Chicago Press.
Laws, S., Harper, C., Marcus, R. (2003) Research for Development: A practical Guide. London,
O’Leary, Z. (2010) The Essential Guide to Doing your Research Project. London, Sage.
Seale, C. (2004) Social research methods: A reader. London, Routledge.
Somekh, B and C. Lewin (eds.) (2004) Research Methods in the Social Sciences. London, Sage.
White, P (2009) Developing Research Questions, Basingstoke and New York, PalgraveMacmillan.