2023-2024 / SPOL9205-1

Preparatory Seminar to the final dissertation


15h SEM

Nombre de crédits

 Master en sciences politiques, orientation générale5 crédits 


Julien Pomarède

Langue(s) de l'unité d'enseignement

Langue anglaise

Organisation et évaluation

Enseignement durant l'année complète


Horaire en ligne

Unités d'enseignement prérequises et corequises

Les unités prérequises ou corequises sont présentées au sein de chaque programme

Contenus de l'unité d'enseignement

Scope of the course

This course is an introduction to the process of building a scientific research in political science. It prepares from a methodological point of view the students to construct and write their master dissertation. The sessions illustrate very concretely the different steps of the research process - finding a topic, constructing a hypothesis, choosing a method, etc. - and help the students to find their own analytical path. The seminar is not only a place for accumulating formal knowledge about the research process but also to learn from one another through collective exchange and discussions.

Outline of the course

The course provides key answers to the core methodological challenges of a political science research process:

How to choose my research topic and turn it into a problematic?

How to explore my topic and design an analytical framework?

How to construct my hypothesis?

How to choose the right method?

How to gather usable data for my research?

How to organize and write my thesis?

How to defend my work?


Acquis d'apprentissage (objectifs d'apprentissage) de l'unité d'enseignement

By the end of the course, the students will

  • be able write the research proposal of their final dissertation
  • have learn how to problematize political dynamics and phenomenon
  • be in possession of a general knowledge about the methods and methodological making of a final dissertation research in political science
  • have a consolidated overview of the different steps constituting the production of a scientific research
  • acquire an experience in presenting orally their research

Savoirs et compétences prérequis

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Activités d'apprentissage prévues et méthodes d'enseignement

The course is a mix between lectures and in-class discussions and exercises, the objective being to find the right balance between accumulating the necessary methodological knowledge (lectures) and figuring how to concretely use it (discussions and exercises). The sessions are built upon a real interaction in the classroom. Depending on the sessions, the students will be asked to prepare some readings before the classes or will be invited to other collective activities such as sharing their own research experience or commenting extracts of already defended master dissertations.

Mode d'enseignement (présentiel, à distance, hybride)

Cours donné exclusivement en présentiel

Explications complémentaires:

All the sessions will be taught onsite in a classroom setting.

The presence to the sessions is mandatory. Due to the interactive nature of the class, students are strongly encouraged to attend the sessions to pass the course.

Lectures recommandées ou obligatoires et notes de cours

 Some sessions include compulsory readings which must be completed before the class.

For general guidances on research methodologies, see the following manuals:

Howard Becker. 1983. Writing for social scientists: how to write and finish your thesis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Janet Buttolph Johnson Reynolds, Jason D. Mycoff. 2016. Political Science Research Methods. London: SAGE Editions.

Sandra Halperin, Oliver Heath. 2017. Political research: methods and practical skills. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

David Marsh. 2002. Theory and methods in political science. London: Palgrave MacMillan.

Modalités d'évaluation et critères

Examen(s) en session

Toutes sessions confondues

- En présentiel

évaluation orale

Travail à rendre - rapport

Explications complémentaires:

The evaluation is divided in two parts.

State of the art (50%)

By the end of the first semester, the students will have to deliver a written state of the art (max. 5 pages) on their dissertation research topic. The evaluation will pay a specific attention to

  • the level of the bibliographical research
  • the ability to synthetize the literature
  • the capacity to discuss the literature and build a critical posture
  • the quality of the writing and the respect of form instructions (references, paragraphs, etc.)
Presentation of the research design (50%)

The sessions of the second semester will be mainly dedicated to oral presentations. The students will have to present the design of their ongoing final dissertation research. The evaluation will pay a specific attention to:

  • the scientific relevance of the project (justification of the choice)
  • the overall coherency of the project
  • the quality of the reflexion in the different aspects of the research design
  • the quality of the oral presentation and the answers to the questions


Remarques organisationnelles et modifications principales apportées au cours

Four sessions are held in the first semester and four others in the second semester.


Dr. Julien Pomarède
Associate Professor in International Politics, Departement of Political Science


Bât. B31 International Politics
Quartier Agora
place des Orateurs 3
4000 Liège 1

Office R.77, level 0
email: julien.pomarede@uliege.be

Association d'un ou plusieurs MOOCs

Notes en ligne

Preparatory seminar - Course description
Preparatory seminar - Course description