Spring 2020 - IS 300 E100

Research Methods in International Studies (4)

Class Number: 6543

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 1600, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    IS 101 and 45 units.



Introduces the research enterprise in International Studies.


This course adopts a critical approach to examining the processes and methods of global knowledge production, with the objective of preparing students to become discerning consumers of knowledge and responsible producers of knowledge. The course will begin with a brief overview of the debates surrounding the question: What is knowledge? The rest of the class will be structured around the question: Who gets to produce what kinds of knowledge, for whom, and how? This will be broken down into three different components: (1) The ethics and politics of knowledge production; (2) Logics of research; (3) Methods of data collection and analysis (qualitative, quantitative, mixed).

This course will adopt elements of a problem-based learning approach. Students will, in groups, work together on designing a strategy to address a chosen research problem. Students will need to take part in group-based activities, and exercise self-direction in their learning.


(1) Develop greater understanding of competing social scientific approaches to knowledge - Distinguish between different approaches to knowledge in the social sciences, and critically evaluate the assumptions and arguments on which these approaches are based - Gain familiarity with a range of quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection commonly used in the social sciences - Critically assess the strengths and limitations of different methods in relation to addressing specific research agendas  

(2) Develop practical research skills, including ability to collect, synthesize, and analyze scholarship and primary data in international studies, in accordance with established standards of scientific rigor and ethics - Practice designing an original research project - Gain familiarity with standards and practices of ethical human subjects research  

(3) Develop the ability to communicate ideas about global problems clearly and effectively to diverse audiences - Learn to craft a research proposal - Practice making clear and concise oral presentations of an argument


  • In-class participation 10%
  • Weekly tasks 10%
  • Data Collection Method Guide 20%
  • Reverse Engineering Exercises 20%
  • Final Assignment 20%
  • Oral Presentations 15%
  • Self-Evaluation 5%


Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html