Methodology seminar and introduction to master thesis

leusl2003  2022-2023  Louvain-la-Neuve

Methodology seminar and introduction to master thesis
6.00 credits
30.0 h + 2.5 h
Q1 and Q2

  This learning unit is not open to incoming exchange students!

Main themes
The seminar will consist of two blocks of sessions over the year. It will provide support to students in completing their end-of-course assignments, from defining a research topic to drafting their thesis.  
The following issues will be addressed:
- general methodology of social science research; defining and tackling a research topic
- use of traditional and electronic resource materials
- techniques for writing academic papers.
Learning outcomes

At the end of this learning unit, the student is able to :

This seminar has two objectives. Firstly, it aims to introduce students to the methodological aspects of completing a master's thesis. By the end of the seminar, students should be able to apply the skills necessary to define a research topic and to decide how to tackle this topic in their end of course assignment. Secondly, the seminar gives an introduction to the research and critical analysis of European information. It aims to provide specific know-how in researching the type of documentation needed for writing their thesis. This part of the seminar presents the main documentary sources for European affairs: the ECLAS catalogue, the European Union information and communication websites (Europa, EUR-LEX and Curia), Eurobarometer surveys, statistical data (Eurostat), specialist media, etc.
The contribution of this Teaching Unit to the development and command of the skills and learning outcomes of the programme(s) can be accessed at the end of this sheet, in the section entitled “Programmes/courses offering this Teaching Unit”.
Teaching in the seminar will address the main methodological requirements for writing a thesis: presentation of bibliographical references, defining the subject of the research and deciding how to tackle this subject, choice of a conceptual framework and reference methodology, etc. Practical advice will also be given on research strategies, relations with supervisors, and defending theses.
Teaching methods
The first block will involve general presentation sessions, given by the professor (In French, with prof. Denis Duez; in English with prof. Clément Fontan).
The second block will involve intensive sessions presenting and discussing draft theses, theoretical or conceptual issues, and the research strategies followed by the students. These sessions are intended to encourage interaction between students and teacher, but also among students. They aim to teach a critical and self-critical approach. Presentations and discussions will take place in French or English.
Evaluation methods
For the first annual set of exams, students will be asked to write an initial 'research report' showing the work done on their end-of-course dissertation. The research report will be assessed by their dissertation supervisor who integrate to this evaluation the effective participation in the training sessions and the knowledge of accessing and consulting European information and documentation.
During the second annual exam session, students will only be assessed on their end-of-course dissertation. Assessment of the dissertation will include a 'defence' of the dissertation, with the dissertation supervisor and a rapporteur.
Other information
This course is divided into two distinct face-to-face lessons: in French (with prof. Denis Duez) and in English (with prof. Clément Fontan).
Online resources
Beaud, Michel, L'art de la thèse, Paris, La Découverte, Coll. Repères, 2006. Berthelot, Jean-Michel, L'emprise du vrai. Connaissance scientifique et modernité, Paris, PUF, 2008. Box-Steffensmeier, Janet M., Brady, Henry E., Collier, David (eds), The Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2008. Bryman, Alan, Social Research Methods (fourth edition), Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012. Coman, Tamona, et al., Méthodes de la science politique. De la question de départ à l'analyse des données, Bruxelles, De Boeck, 2016. Harrison, Lisa, Startin, Nicholas, Political Research: An Introduction, London, Routledge, 2001. Lenoble-Pinson, Michèle, La rédaction scientifique, Bruxelles, De Boeck et Larcier, 1996. Marsh, David, Stoker, Gerry Stoker (eds), Theory and Methods in Political Science, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. Meyer, Bernard, Maîtriser l'argumentation, Paris, Armand Collin, 2004. Quivy, Raymond, Van Campenhoudt, Luc, Manuel de recherches en sciences sociales, Paris, Dunod, 2006. Rosamond, Ben, Theories of European Integration, Palgrave MacMillan, 2000. Saurugger, Sabine, Théories et concepts de l'intégration européenne, Paris, Presses de Science Po, 2009. Van Campenhoudt, Luc, Introduction à l'analyse des phénomènes sociaux, Paris, Dunod, 2007. Kellstedt, Paul M., Whitten, Guy D., The fundamentals of political science research, Second edition, Cambridge, Cambridge university press, 2013. Burnham, Peter (et al.), Research methods in politics, Second edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave MacMillan, 2008.
Teaching materials
  • Site Moodle
Faculty or entity

Programmes / formations proposant cette unité d'enseignement (UE)

Title of the programme
Learning outcomes
Master [120] in European Studies