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46495-01 - Doctoral course: How to Write a PhD Thesis? Theory Development, Research Design, and Professional Development 3 CP

Semester fall semester 2016
Course frequency Once only
Lecturers Günter Schmidt-Gess (, Assessor)
Content The instructor of this course is

Christina J. Schneider
Associate Professor
Jean Monnet Chair and Alexander von Humboldt Experienced Fellow
Department of Political Science
University of California, San Diego

The purpose of this two-part seminar is to help students carry out their dissertation research and to learn about the professional academic system in the United States. The seminar provides Ph.D. students with an opportunity to design and develop their dissertation research projects, and to learn about quantitative research design. Class time will be devoted primarily to discussion of research topics and an introduction to research design, the discussion of students’ research topics, and an introduction to the American academic system.
During the first part of the course participants will learn about how to develop a Ph.D. thesis. The lecture will cover topics including how to pick interesting questions, how to narrow down a topic to a manageable size, how to develop a (novel) theoretical argument, and how to develop a research design. The main focus will lie on the development of a research design.
During the second part of the course, the seminar will focus on a discussion of the participants’ research projects. Students will have the opportunity to present their work and receive feedback for further developments, including their qualitative and quantitative analyses. The seminar will also incorporate a professional development session on the American academic system, including
presentational style, networking, job market, and opportunities for visiting positions in the United States.
Bibliography Students should complete reading assignments in advance of the seminar
• Wayne C. Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams, The Craft of Research,
3rd edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.
• Online:
Comments PLACE: Petersgraben 11, Room 209

September 22 (Thursday), 10am-5pm: Framing Questions, Research Topics,
• Read
• Read Preface, Prologue, Chapters 1, 3, and 4 in Booth, Colomb, and Williams,
The Craft of Research, 3rd edition.
September 23 (Friday), 10am-5pm: Research Design I and Discussion of Student
• Read Chapters 7, 10, and 12-14 in Booth, Colomb, and Williams, The Craft of
Research, 3rd edition.
October 20 (Thursday), 10am-5pm: Research Design II and Student Presentations
• Read Chapters 7, 10, and 12-14 in Booth, Colomb, and Williams, The Craft of
Research, 3rd edition.
October 21 (Friday), 10am-5pm: Professional Development (American Academic
System) and Student Presentations
• No readings, but students should prepare some questions they may have about
professional development in the American system.


Admission requirements During the second part of the seminar, we will discuss the participant’s dissertation proposals in respect to the material that we covered in the first seminar season. Participants will also receive feedback on their research design and the qualitative/quantitative aspect of their proposal. All participants should therefore e-mail their 5-10 page dissertation proposal to the course by October 29th at 5pm. All participants are required to read the proposals before the October 20 meeting.
Language of instruction English
Use of digital media No specific media used


Interval irregular
Date 22.09.2016 – 21.10.2016
Time Thursday, 10.15-17.00 Zz-inaktiv PEG09, Seminarraum 209
Date Time Room
Thursday 22.09.2016 10.15-17.00 Zz-inaktiv PEG09, Seminarraum 209
Friday 23.09.2016 10.15-17.00 Bernoullistrasse 14/16, Sitzungszimmer 03.003
Thursday 20.10.2016 10.15-17.00 Zz-inaktiv PEG09, Seminarraum 209
Friday 21.10.2016 10.15-17.00 Zz-inaktiv PEG09, Seminarraum 209
Modules Doktorat Kulturanthropologie: Empfehlungen (PhD subject Cultural Anthropology)
Doktorat Near & Middle Eastern Studies: Empfehlungen (PhD subject Near & Middle Eastern Studies)
Doktorat Politikwissenschaft: Empfehlungen (PhD subject Political Science)
Gender Studies: Recommendations (PhD subject Gender Studies)
Assessment format continuous assessment
Assessment details Active participation in the workshop is required in order to fulfill the requirements.
Assessment registration/deregistration Reg.: course registration; dereg.: not required
Repeat examination no repeat examination
Scale Pass / Fail
Repeated registration no repetition
Responsible faculty Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences,
Offered by Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften