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Methodology and Research in International Relations 2017/2018

  • 6 ECTS
  • Taught in Portuguese
  • Continuous Assessment


At the end of this unit, students should be able to:
1. Define the concepts of Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology;
2. Characterize research in Social Sciences
3. Distinguish scientific knowledge of popular knowledge;
4. Identify the methods used by the International Relations
5. Draw an individual research project;
6. Collect data and treats them scientifically;
7. Implement and present an individual research work.

Recommended Prerequisites

Not applicable as it is a Curricular Unit of the 1st Semester of the 1st year.

Teaching Metodology

Theoretical issues will be worked emphasizing the expository method. However, and given the nature of the discipline, the necessary autonomy will be provided for, in class and in groups, students discuss the contents and move forward with their research projects. Whenever possible, the theoretical material will be accompanied by practical exercises.

Body of Work

1. Scientific knowledge
1.1. ontology
1.2. epistemology
1.3. methodology
2. The social science research
2.1. Ethics and integrity
2.2. The scientific method and the social sciences
2.3. Evidence and arguments
3. Research in International Relations: theories and concepts
3.1. Investigate people, populations, sites and systems
3.2. Official documents
4. Planning the investigation
4.1. steps
5. Scientific methods
5.1. Causal models and tests the hypothesis
5.2. Statistical and quantitative methods
5.3. Game theory
5.4. The case study
5.5. The comparative method
5.6. ethnomethodology
5.7. Language and discourse analysis
6. The completion of the investigation
6.1. The interpretative research
7. Conclusions and presentation of final results

Recommended Bibliography

Freixo, M. (2012) Metodologia Científica, Fundamentos, Métodos e Técnicas. Lisboa: Instituto Piaget
Lamont, C. (2015) Research Methods in International Relations. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage.

Complementary Bibliography

Effingham, N. (2013) An Introduction to Ontology. Cambridge: Polity.
Harvey, F.; Brecher, M. (eds.) (2002) Evaluating Methodology in International Studies. Michigan: The University f Michigan Press.
Lamont, C. (2015) Research Methods in International Relations. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage.
Pocinho, M. (2012) Metodologia de Investigação e Comunicação do Conhecimento Científico. Lisboa: Lidel.
Quivy, R.; Champenhoudt, L. (2008) Manual de investigação em ciências sociais. Lisboa: Gradiva.
Sprinz, D.; WolinskyNahmias,
Y. (eds.) (2004) Models, Numbers & Cases. Methods for Studying International Relations. Michigan: The University of Michigan Press
Williams, C. (2015) Doing International Research: Global and Local Methods. London/Thousand Oaks/New Delhi: Sage.

Weekly Planning

1st Week
Presentation: Contents, Methodology, Bibliography and Evaluation.

2nd Week
The IR and the Research: Methodology(ies).
Science and Knowledge: Concepts, Structures, Forms and Classification.

3rd Week
Research and Methodologies Contextualization: True(s); Evidence(s); Assurance; Grouding and Interpretation.
Exercise / Debate.

4th Week
Scientific Knowledge: Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology.

5th Week
Social Sciences Research:
- Ethic and Integrity;
- The scientific method and social sciences
- Evidences and arguments

6th Week
The Research in International Relations: theories and concepts:
- Research people, populations, places and systems
- The oficial documents
Study Case exercise

7th Week
The research planning: steps.

8th Week
The scientific methods:
- Casual Models and hypothesis tests
- Statistic and quantitative methods
IR Study Case

9th Week
The games theory and the study case.

10th Week
The comparative method and the ethnomethodology.

11th Week
Language and Discourse Analysis.
Delivery of the evaluation written papers.

12th Week
The research concretization
The interpretative research

13th Week
Evaluation Works Oral Presentation.

14th Week
Conclusions and final results presentation.

15th Week
Finalization of the Curricular Unit
Preparation for the Written Exam.

Demonstration of the syllabus coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

The Curricular Unit will develop the Program Contents (PC) aiming the achievement of the plan as follow: The aim "Define the concepts of Ontology, Epistemology and Methodology" will be achieved by the study of the point 1 of the PC: "The scientific Knowledge". Concerning the "Characterization of the research in Social Sciences" will teaching and learning by the aim 3. The objectives 4 "Identify the methods used by the International Relations" and 5 "Draw an individual research project" will be promoted by the learning of 5th point of the PC "The scientific methods". The objectives 6 and 7 of the Curricular Unit will be pedagogical worked and concreted by the PC 6 and 7.

Demonstration of the teaching methodologies coherence with the curricular unit's objectives

Considering that the methodology and the research are the genesis in the IR, the Curricular Unit will be taught aiming concreting and achieve all objectives defined for the learning. The theory questions will exposed by the expositive method. However, as the Curricular Unit nature, the demands and the needs of teaching and learning, looking for a structured preparation by the IR research, will be uses the questioning and the demonstrative method, as well as the pratique exercises, reading and analise of scientific texts (correct .and incorrect ones), using the Communication and Information Technologies to expose pratique cases, etc. Finally, the students will develop an individual written research work, and will present it, to ensure the consolidation of the learning objectives.

relevant generic skillimproved?assessed?
Achieving practical application of theoretical knowledgeYesYes
Adapting to new situations  
Analytical and synthetic skillsYesYes
Balanced decision makingYes 
Commitment to effectivenessYesYes
Commitment to qualityYesYes
Cultural awarenessYesYes
Ethical and responsible behaviourYesYes
Event organization, planning and managementYesYes
Foreign language proficiency  
Information and learning managementYesYes
Initiative and entrepreneurship capabilityYesYes
IT and technology proficiency  
Problem Analysis and AssessmentYesYes
Relating to others  
Research skillsYesYes
Understanding multiculturalism and valuing diversityYesYes
Working in international context  
Written and verbal communications skillsYesYes
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