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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies

Postgraduate Course: Research and Dissertation Methods on the Muslim World (IMES11115)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis advanced research methods course will explore the specific challenges involved in conceiving, planning, and delivering a major academic research project and will prepare students on the MSc The Globalised Muslim World programme for their final MSc dissertation.
Course description This course offers an advanced introduction to the specific methods and problems involved in conceiving, planning, and delivering a major research project on aspects of the Muslim World. The course will support students to visualise and articulate a clear research question and develop this into an innovative and well-structured research proposal. This proposal will form the foundation of their 15,000-word MSc dissertation.

The class will meet for two hours on a fortnightly basis. Over the course of ten weeks, students will engage with a number of research active academics working in a variety of cognate disciplines. Contributors will discuss challenges they have faced in delivering their own research projects and the strategies they have employed to overcome them.

Each student will work with an individual academic to formulate a clear research question, write a 1000-word summary statement of their dissertation research topic before moving on to submit a formal 3000-word dissertation proposal.

The course will be taught through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities conducted online.¿

The synchronous activities include a 50 minute weekly online seminar. These seminars will facilitate discussion about the course materials: readings, lecture videos, slides presentation, or short podcasts, as well as students written assignments.

Students are expected to attend online after having watched the recording/asynchronous materials, and after having addressed the questions or mini exercise proposed for that week.¿

The asynchronous activities may include 15 minutes weekly lecture videos and a series of associated slides on the topic of the week, as well as other audio-visual materials, such as short podcasts and films.

There is also a series of weekly exercises or short written in responses to the readings that should be answered weekly in approximately 40 minutes. These short writing assignments (approximately 100 words) should be emailed to the course convenor or posted on Blackboard a day before the synchronous online seminar discussion.¿
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 12, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 178 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%
1000-word summary statement of their dissertation research topic
3000-word dissertation proposal.
Feedback Students will receive bi-weekly feedback on their assignments as they work towards the completion of their 3000-word research proposal. The feedback will be given as the students draft their research questions, outline of the research proposal, literature reviews, and build their bibliography, initially toward their 1000-word summary, and then for their 3000-word research proposal. Peer-to-peer feedback will also be encouraged.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Identify, describe, and evaluate different theories and methods used when researching the contemporary Muslim world.
  2. Identify, analyse, and critique a collection of academic literature relevant to a research project.
  3. Visualise and articulate a clear research question based on an understanding of the field and the current academic literature pertaining to it.
  4. Design and write a clear, well-structured research proposal.
  5. Apply, interpret, and evaluate the practice of different research methods.
Reading List
Recommended Readings:

Research Design & Writing Strategies
Creswell, John W., and J. David Creswell. 2017. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.
Creswell, John W., and Cheryl N. Poth. 2018. Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing among Five Approaches. Fourth edition. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Galvan, Jose L., and Melisa C. Galvan. 2017. Writing Literature Reviews: A Guide for Students of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Routledge.
O¿Leary, Zina. 2013. The Essential Guide to Doing Your Research Project. SAGE.
O¿Leary, Zina. 2018. Research Question: Little Quick Fix. United Kingdom: SAGE.
Ravitch, Sharon M., and J. Matthew Riggan. 2016. Reason & Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research. 2nd edition. London: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Roberts, Carol, and Laura Hyatt. 2018. The Dissertation Journey: A Practical and Comprehensive Guide to Planning, Writing, and Defending Your Dissertation (Updated). Third Edition. California: Corwin Press.

Theories and Methods in Islamic Studies
Bowen, John R. 2012. A New Anthropology of Islam. New Departures in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
Clark, Janine A, and Francesco Cavatorta. 2018. Political Science Research in the Middle East and North Africa: Methodological and Ethical Challenges.
Ernst, Carl W., and Richard C. Martin, eds. 2010. Rethinking Islamic Studies: From Orientalism to Cosmopolitanism. Illustrated edition. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press.
Hashemi, Nader, and Danny Postel. 2017. Sectarianization: Mapping the New Politics of the Middle East. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Mahmood, S. 2005. Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject.
Marranci, Gabriele. 2008. The Anthropology of Islam. New York: Routledge.
Martin, Richard C. 1985. Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies. University of Arizona Press.
Salvatore, Armando. 2016. The Sociology of Islam: Knowledge, Power and Civility. 1st edition. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Research and enquiry: Problem solving; analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.

Personal and intellectual autonomy: Self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.

Personal effectiveness: Planning, organising and time management; team working; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.

Communication: Interpersonal skills, verbal and written communication.
Course organiserDr Sarah Muwahidah
Course secretaryMs Monique Brough
Tel: (0131 6)50 3618
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