Research Design

GSTÖHL S. & SCHUNZ S. - Research Design in EU External Action (12h)


This non-assessed compulsory course aims to help students prepare their Master’s thesis by familiarising them with important theoretical approaches and aspects of social sciences research methodology relevant for EU external action studies. The course comprises three parts: the first part offers an introduction to research design and focuses in particular on the structure of the thesis, the formulation of a precise research question and hypothesis/argument, and on case selection. The second part then deals with some major concepts, approaches and theories to study EU external action, whether specifically conceptualised for this purpose or adapted from theories of International Relations or regional integration. By discussing examples of how to apply these concepts, approaches or theories, students learn to analyse specific issues of EU external action through different theoretical lenses for the benefit of their own research and analysis. The third part of the course introduces research techniques from social sciences, in particular the often-used techniques of document analysis and expert interviews. It illustrates how these can be employed when carrying out research for a Master’s thesis in the field of EU external action.