Module Evaluating and Developing Research Methods for by hcj


									Joint Master’s Migration and Intercultural Relations - Module: Core III
Evaluating and Developing Research Methods for Transcultural Contexts –

Overview and introductory information

The module is taught by Dr. Lydia Potts in cooperation with Dr. Nikita Dhawan, Dr. Maria do
Mar Castro Varela, Constanze Weth and Carlotta Schulte Ostermann.

The module will start March 19 and will finish with the end of June.


The content of this module is divided into five sub-modules, entitled:

1. Visual Representations of Migration
   (Constanze Weth)

2. Epistemology and Critical Theory
   (Nikita Dhawan)

3. Intercultural Relations
    (Maria do Mar Castro Varela)

4. Qualitative Methods
   (Lydia Potts)

5. Quantitative Methods
   (Lydia Potts)

Objectives, starting points:

The aim of this module is to enable students to critically evaluate (empirical) research and to
gain experience in how to conduct an empirical study in a research team. About half the
workload in the module will be used to do a small scale empirical project (sub-module 4).
Suggested starting point for the empirical project are two of the working groups from the
Intensive Phase last October:
      migration and religion
      migration and/in politics (with emphasis on forced migration/refugees).
During the Intensive Phase in April, we will develop the research question each team will
focus on. Please prepare for this process in the following ways:
a) consult the readers provided for the working groups.
Use the texts as a starting point to define your field of interest and to develop ideas for what
kind of empirical study you would like to do.
b) students in Stavanger and Oldenburg: Have a look at the books listed in the reading list
under “qualitative methods” and choose the text you prefer.
in Lubljana: please check if any of these texts is accesible for you. If not, please suggest a
title accesible to you. When looking for this replacement: try to find recent English books

providing an overview on methods, preferably a monograph and preferably on qualitative
methods. If this fails: you will have access to the books on the reading list during the IP.

Based on your preparatory thinking, we will develop the detailed work plan for May and June
during the IP. Please plan to do the empirical study in a team – division of labour is a must to
keep the workload at bay. So you might also start looking for partners.

The first half of the module (March and April) is dedicated to overarching questions of
research methodology. We start with the sub-module 1 on visual representations, which is a
follow up to the October workshop. In migration studies, very few academic books use
images (except, maybe on the book cover) and the social sciences in general still focus very
much on „text‟ in the sense of written materials. But we all know that often „a picture says
more than thousand words‟ resp. that images are very powerful in communication and
imagination. Most people might never read a book about migration, but no one can escape the
media images of refugees and migrants. But how do we evaluate and analyse images? How
do we link them to academic work? The sub-module provides you with some useful tools and
you are asked to apply them in some exercises.

Sub-module 2 starts with what might be considered the most basic and maybe most difficult
question in science: how do we generate knowledge? what are the criteria when we evaluate
„knowledge‟ as scientific? what are theories and how do we use them? To try to answer these
questions in just a few weeks is a challenge – but as you will start doing your own research
soon, you should at least be familiar with the question.

Intercultural relations are a key area in migration studies – but they also go beyond. In the
past semester, this area was often addressed implicitly (e.g. it is inscribed in postcolonial
discourse) and at times explicitly (e.g. during the IP through the anti-bias workshop and in
the lecture on Roma in the Czech Republic, or in the theory module when discussing theories
of race and racism). The sub-module 3 aims at providing a brief overview on theories of
intercultural relations. As all empirical research in migration studies is intercultural
communication (at least indirectly), the sub module will also provide important tools for
following empirical work.

Sub-module 5 will be the shortest section – information on this will follow.


The workload is carefully chosen so you should be able to do the necessary reading and
assignments in 8-10 hours per week. You will have some weeks were you have to organise
the work on this module yourself, please keep the schedule in mind so you have enough time
in the end of the semester to finalise everything.

Online Materials

With this start-up mail, you will receive materials required for the first two sub-modules
(introductory texts, list of required and additional readings, explanation of assignments,
additional pdf and power point files) plus the reading list and some information for sub-
modules 3 and 4. The other materials will follow in due course.

Video Conferences

As of now (March 15), the following video conferences (vc) are scheduled on
Thursdays at 11 p.m.

March 29, time: 11am-1pm*
May 3, time: 11-12am
May 10, time: 11-12am
May 31, time: 11-12am
June 7, time: 11am-1pm*

Please note: during the semester, it might become necessary to slightly deviate from this

* 2hour video conferences!

Intensive Phases

The module comprises two Intensive Phases, the first in April will take place in Oldenburg –
the second in June will be in Stavanger.
The schedule for the IP in Oldenburg is as follows:

IP in Oldenburg

Mon, April 16: 9-12am        Intercultural Relations     Maria do Mar Castro Varela
              14-17pm        Epistemology/Critical Theory Nikita Dhawan

Tue, April 17: 9-12am        Qualitative Research          Lydia Potts
               14-17pm       Qualitative Research          Lydia Potts

Wed, April 18: 9-12am        Qualitative Research        Lydia Potts
              14-17pm        Visual Representations of Migration Constanze Weth


For required and additional reading please study the separate plans for sub-modules resp. the
reading list.
Downloads from the Internet are your own responsibility. Some texts (book chapters, journal
articles) primarily the compulsory reading will be provided as pdf.
The choice of the text books for the sub-module on qualitative methods is based on the books
shelved in the Stavanger University library. Please spend some time in the library to compare
text books and find out about your personal preference.
For books listed as “additional reading” you might have to use inter-library loan services.


Due dates                                                       Feedback

April 10        analysis of an image (1-2 pages)               during IP in Oldenburg
April 16        presentation of critical reading/text analysis during IP in Oldenburg
                during IP

April 30        Epistemology thought paper (1-2 pages)          via email in week May 14-20
May 4           Intercultural Relations thought paper           via email in week May 21-27
                (1-2 pages)
                Qualitative research: research process          team consultations by
                simulation incl. documentation                  appointment (usually

Term Paper and Grading

Papers for this module should be written in teams and the content based on a small empirical
study the team has carried out preferably in May.
It is important that the paper addresses the methodological choices the team made, evaluates
the research process (was the plan appropriate or not, why?), transcribes, analyses and the
empirical material gathered. The paper does not necessarily have to come up with „findings‟,
the grading will be primarily based on how you describe and analyse the research process.


For questions or help you may as well contact the tutors for this module. In Stavanger Shalini
Føiland and Nils Olav Østrem will do the tutorials, in Oldenburg Carlotta Schulte Ostermann
is available for concerns related to the module. Carlottas usual office days are Tues, Wed and
Thurs mornings.


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