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Research Design (MIRD): Thesis Lab I


Admission requirements

MSc International Relations and Diplomacy students.


This course helps students to enter into an ongoing scholarly conversation on a research topic. It prepares students to ask good research questions and to write a proposal that includes all the necessary elements. It covers the first key steps: choosing a topic; formulating a research question; locating the right sources; completing a comprehensive literature review; applying the relevant theory and using research concepts. Issues such as feasibility; academic and social relevance; applying theory to empirical problems; and how to source the correct literature will be covered on this course.

Course objectives

By the end of this course, students will have:

  • identified the research topic for their thesis;

  • formulated a research question and described its social and academic relevance;

  • identified the relevant theory and concepts under investigation;

  • developed testable hypotheses, expectations, or a research puzzle to investigate;

  • written the first half of their thesis proposal up to the methods section.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the E-Prospectus you will find a link to the online timetables.

Mode of instruction

Lectures, class discussion, self-study (including assignments).

Course Load

5 EC

Assessment method

Final grades are calculated based on four components:

  • literature review (empirical and theoretical) (40%)

  • oral pitch and peer response (20%)

  • full proposal up to the methods section (40%)

Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.

Failed partial grades or components should be compensated by passed partial grades or components. The calculated grade must be at least 5,5 to pass the course. It is not possible to re-sit a partial grade or component once you have passed the course.
Assignment requirements will remain the same. Due to its nature, the oral pitch and peer response assignment cannot be retaken. The maximum grade possible for a re-sit of the proposal is 6.

Transitional arrangement for students enrolled in the course in the academic year 2018-19:
The assessment method of this course has changed. Students who have valid partial grades for this course, but have not obtained a passing grade for this course, can complete the course in accordance with last year’s assessment methods.


To be announced.

Reading list

Academic articles announced before the lectures.


Use Blackboard to register for every course. The program will register the students in Usis based on the group division.


Dr H.Mazepus

Dr V.Newby