Spring 2021 - IS 300 E100

Research Methods in International Studies (4)

Class Number: 5864

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    IS 101 and 45 units.



Introduces the research enterprise in International Studies.


This course is designed to introduce students to the logic of social inquiry. The weekly classes and tutorials are geared toward giving the students a basic understanding of social research, and in the process, preparing them to write their own research proposals. The first half of the course focuses on the very basic issues of social research, such as identifying puzzles, formulating research questions, and reviewing the literature for the answers scholars have so far offered. The second half inquires into the nature of qualitative, quantitative and experimental research. When teaching different types of methods, the course acknowledges the philosophies that underlie them on the one hand, and demonstrates how they may complement each other. The emphasis on mixed-method research thus helps the students utilize the particular strengths of both sets of procedures while gaining a more encompassing and holistic perspective.

Course Delivery
– Lectures will be live and/or recorded, depending on the week.
– The above regular hours are for live/synchronous lectures only.
– Recorded/asynchronous material will be uploaded during or shortly before regular hours.
– Not all weeks will have the same format, so students are required to review the below Course Schedule carefully, and follow the announcements on the online platform.


By the end of the course, students will

• the logic of social inquiry,
• explanatory traditions in social sciences,
• major methodological approaches in social sciences,
• qualitative and quantitative data collection methods,
• in-depth knowledge of methods specific to their research project,
• the ethical and political dimensions of political science research, and
• the issues involved in writing up research reports and theses.

Further, students will be able to:

• demonstrate analytical skills in evaluating research design and practice,
• create their own research questions, and research designs,
• demonstrate the theoretical underpinnings of their chosen approach, and
• use library and electronic resources, and locate appropriate materials.


  • Short Research Proposal 10%
  • Forum Participation (Round 1) 20%
  • Forum Participation (Round 2) 20%
  • Review Paper 20%
  • Full Research Proposal 30%


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.



Bryman, Alan; and Edward Bell. 2019. Social Research Methods: Canadian Edition (5h Canadian edition). Oxford University Press.

Kellstedt, Paul M.; and Guy D. Whitten. 2018. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research (3rd edition). Cambridge University Press.
Online companion for Bryman and Bell 

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).