PECOS4025 – Analytic perspectives on peace and conflict

Course content

This class examines fundamental principles of research methods and design in political science as applied to the field of peace and conflict research. It prepares students to design and conduct an independent research project of their own. This class also equips students to assess the validity and reliability of published research in political science and to reflect on ethical challenges pertaining to research in the field of peace and conflict.

This course is organized as a series of lectures on the following topics:

  • Logics of inference in political science research (JK) What are concepts and how to measure them
  • Selecting cases and using data (PL) Developing and testing theory
  • Counterfactual thinking (PL) Ethics and transparency in peace and conflict research
  • Causal inference from process-tracing and congruence tests
  • Research design and debates in the field of security studies
  • Research design and debates in the field of civil war research
  • Developing strategies to tackle challenges to inference 

Learning outcome

After having completed the course, the students have acquired the following knowledge, skills and general competencies:

Knowledge

Students learn:

  • Fundamental principles of research methods and research design in political science
  • How to assess the validity and reliability of inferences in research designs and published findings
  • How to discuss ethical problems and challenges in peace and conflict research

Skills

After taking this class students can:

  • Identify and discuss different strategies for inference in political science research
  • Distinguish between different kinds of research questions and strategies for inference
  • Identify and tackle bias problems in political science research
  • Design and implement a research design in the field of peace and conflict studies

 

Basic competencies

Students learn

  • How to create and improve a research design suited to answer their research question
  • How to think systematically about measurement, inferences and explanation in political science research
  • How to engage in constructive assessment of research design choices and strategies for inference, especially in issue areas with limited or biased data
  • How to provide constructive feedback on research design to others and how to integrate such feedback into their own project

Admission

Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.

Teaching

10 lectures.

Obligatory activities:

  • Attend at least 8 out of 10 lectures. 
  • Pepare 4 reaction papers of 250 words each summarizing the main argument of one assigned reading per lecture and discuss its implications for research practice. Students will have to submit four reaction papers to qualify for examination.
  • Prepare constructive written feedback on another student’s draft final essay 

Access to teaching

Exams:

  • There will be a mid-term exam counting 30% toward the overall grade.

  • Students will prepare one final paper on challenges to inference on a topic of their choice in the field of peace and conflict studies (3000-4000, words excluding references)  counting 70% toward the overall grade 

Examination

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

Evaluation

The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course

Credits

10

Level

Master

Teaching

Every autumn

This course starts autumn 2022. 

Examination

Every autumn

Teaching language

English