Explain how the cases you re thinking about would help construct a good comparative study!

Order DescriptionThis final assignment has 3 goals: 1. to offer you an opportunity to apply the methodological tools that we have been learning throughout the semester to a topic of your own choosing;2. to evaluate your ability to use these tools independently (and not just to identify them in relation to the work of others);3. to move you forward with your thinking about own MA thesis, in order to identify problems early and craft a strong topic. To achieve these goals you will need to do 4 things: a. read up and work out the conceptual substance of your topic (conceptualization);b. decide whether you will examine the causes or consequences of this variable (i.e. whether it will be a DV or an IV in your study);c. determine how you will operationalize these variables (i.e. working out both a set of indicators and a preliminary set of data sources to be used)d. decide which research design you will follow (single-case study, comparative method, large-N statistical) and why. In order to cover these topics, I recommend that you structure your assignment along the following sub-headings. Central concepts and research question: what are the key conceptual phenomena that you will be examining? what is the general background to these concepts? what kind of contribution are you making to the study of these phenomena? if you are examining causal linkages between two or more phenomena, then can you state a preliminary hypothesis (using the tools we ve been studying)? what is the general theoretical background to this linkage? what have others said about it? Research design: how many cases would you like to use to research this topic? if you opt for a single-case study, can you craft your topic using one of the types of single-case studies that we talked about? This means not only identifying a type, but also using the rules for that type to better structure your own empirical work. That is, don t only identify a template that looks suitable to what you d like to do, but also apply that template (or rules) in a way that it prompts you discover new things about your case that you wouldn t have without it. if you opt for a few-N comparative study, will you use MSSD or MDSD? What will be your control variables (using MSSD) or your difference variables (in the case of MDSD)? Explain how the cases you re thinking about would help construct a good comparative study! if you opt for a large-N statistical study, then describe briefly the kinds of statistical techniques how expect to use to test the causal connections you are looking at. Data sources and methods: describe the kind of data gathering that will emerge from the research design type that you have proposed. what is the range of empirical sources that you expect to have to go through in order to operationalize your phenomena? how available are these sources? what will you have to reckon with in order to get valid and reliable data/information? if you will use qualitative sources, how will you structure your data-gathering to make sure that consistent information is gathered? if you will use quantitative data, how much data will you need to gather yourself? if you plan to use an existing dataset(s), will there be work to be done in terms of restructuring or combining datasets?A few points of advice: read up!o This assignment requires you to begin reading NOW on the conceptual frameworks that will form the backbone to your research. This will take time, since you may not initially find the right concept or framework; OR you may be looking for one concept, but then you stumble upon another and you start formulating a new topic around that concept since it interests you more. Allow time for these discoveries and changes to take place! talk to others!o Bounce your ideas off both fellow students and faculty (potential advisors). As you begin to formulate a topic, try and describe it to someone else to see if it makes sense! use the thinking tools that we ve developed!o Communicate using the methodological terms that we ve talked about; use the words variable , operationalize , research design , etc;o Follow our language rules (no proper nouns in variables, use your main variable in your title, hint at the research design type in the title);o Draw arrow diagrams,o If it helps, start by filling out our methodology template. Note that this assignment will require you to work backwards ; that is, you may know now that you want to work on a certain country or event, but you haven t quite figured out the conceptual framework within which you d like to examine that event or you haven t quite determined the accompanying variables or hypotheses. Under this assignment, you should work through all of these questions and then present the topic as you would in a final work, i.e. talk about the concept first and then present the cases (remember how Cohen or Saideman/Auerswald presented their work!). This should be a prospectus or a roadmap on the basis of which you can plan your work for the next 15 months and complete your thesis on time. So it should also be an occasion to think about: what methods you may need to still learn? what courses might relate to this topic? which experts you may need to consult? what kind of field work you should reckon with?FORMAT: Your assignment should be 5-7 pages (1.5-space, 12p font) or about 1500-2000 words. You should devote about equal space to each of the three sub-headings listed above. GRADING: Your assignment will NOT be graded on the sophistication of your topic per se, but rather on how well you have demonstrated an ability to use the methodological tools we have been learning about. Remember that methodology is about going down a certain chain of steps and making choices. It is a tree that branches out as we choose certain tools and frameworks. I want to see how well you can use this chain for yourself. This means that I do not expect you to have answered all of your questions now. For example, it is possible that you will say that you will look at media reports about protest demonstrations in Greece over the period 2011-2013 in order to measure societal cohesion under financial crisis . This may not be the final operationalization, but at least I will be able to see that you have thought about finding good indicators. Likewise, do not expect you to lay out the entire conceptual field of the topic that you will be studying. But a good assignment will present at least a preliminary and intelligent discussion of relevant authors involved (including relevant bibliographical references).

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