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

Postgraduate Course: Research Methods and Dissertation Writing on the Muslim World (IMES11117)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryResearch Methods and Dissertation Writing on the Muslim World serves as an advanced introduction to academic research at postgraduate level. It will provide students with research skills and methodology needed when conducting research in diverse settings. In the course, students will explore the challenges involved in conceiving, planning, and delivering a major academic research project and will prepare students to write academically-sound research including their dissertation in the MSc the Globalised Muslim World programme.
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 clear research questions and develop them into innovative and well-structured research proposals. This proposal will form the foundation of their 15,000-word MSc dissertation and other academic production.

The class will meet for two hours on a fortnightly basis over the period of two semesters. Over this period, students will engage with several research-active academics working in a variety of cognate disciplines. Students will discuss challenges they anticipate in conducting their research and the strategies they can employ to overcome them.

Each student will formulate a clear research question, write a statement of their research methodology including research ethics and methods in the first semester before moving on to submit a formal dissertation proposal by the end of the second semester).

Course activities include discussions and exercises in several research methods (such as conducting interviews, participant observation, preparing a survey as well as ethical considerations when conducting research). The activities will also include facilitated discussions about studied academic literature as well as students's research plans. Further, their activities will include a series of formative fortnightly exercises or short presentations by the students to practice explaining their research in front on an audience.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Full Year
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100 %
- 2000 words detailed statement of dissertation research topic, methods, and ethics (40%)
- 300 words research abstract of research proposal and oral presentation (midterm of the second term) (15%)
- 2000-word dissertation proposal (45%)
Feedback Students will receive fortnightly oral feedback on formative assignments (short exercises, presentations) as they work towards the completion of their research proposal. The feedback will be given as the students decide on and discuss their research ideas, practice the methods of data collection and draft their research questions. The research question will be used to outline the research proposal, build their bibliography toward their 2000 word methodology paper for which students will be provided with individual written feedback and general oral guidance. The students will also be provided with written feedback on their research abstract and final 2000-word research proposal. Peer-to-peer feedback will also be encouraged through in-class discussions.
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
Al-Ajarma, Kholoud and Marjo Buitelaar. 2022. "Studying Mecca elsewhere. Exploring the meanings of the hajj for Muslims in Morocco and the Netherlands". In Approaching Pilgrimage: Methodological Issues Involved in Researching Routes, Sites and Practices, edited by Mario Katiic and John Eade, London & New York: Routledge
Clark, Janine A, and Francesco Cavatorta. 2018. Political Science Research in the Middle East and North Africa: Methodological and Ethical Challenges.
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.
Kvale, Steinar. 2007."Doing Interviews. The Sage Qualitative Research Kit. Los Angeles Calif.: SAGE."
Marranci, Gabriele. 2008. The Anthropology of Islam. New York: Routledge.
Wallace, Mike. 2016. Critical reading and writing for postgraduates. Los Angeles: Sage.

Adams, Glenn. 2014. "Decolonizing methods: African studies and qualitative research."
Bowen, John R. 2012. A New Anthropology of Islam. New Departures in Anthropology. Cambridge University Press.
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.
Hayot E. Three. Eight Strategies for Getting Writing Done. In: The Elements of Academic Style. Columbia University Press; 2015:17-35.
Hennink, Monique M, Inge Hutter, and Ajay Bailey. 2020.¿Qualitative Research Methods. 2E ed. Los Angeles: Sage.
Kassem. Ali. Forthcoming. "Unlearning and Epistemic Alternatives: Fieldwork as a Tool of Decolonisation."
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.
Martin, Richard C. 1985. Approaches to Islam in Religious Studies. University of Arizona Press.
Phillip C. Shon. 2018. Understanding the "Big" and "Little" Errors in Your Paper. In: The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing: How to Avoid Big Mistakes and Small Errors. SAGE Publications Ltd.
Ravitch, Sharon M., and J. Matthew Riggan. 2016. Reason & Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research. 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. California: Corwin Press.
Shon, Phillip C. The Quick Fix Guide to Academic Writing: How to Avoid Big Mistakes and Small Errors. London: SAGE Publications, 2017.
Silverman, David. 2017. Top Tip: Save Your Literature Review for Last. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Williams K. 2017. Referencing & Understanding Plagiarism / Kate Williams and Mary Davis. Second edition. (Davis M, ed.). Macmillian Education, Palgrave.

Further reading:
Asad, Talal. 2003. Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Eickelman, Dale & James Piscatori. 2004. Muslim Politics. Princeton: Princeton University 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.
Salvatore, Armando. 2016. The Sociology of Islam: Knowledge, Power and Civility. 1st edition. Hoboken, N.J: Wiley.
Soares, Benjamin and René Otayek (Ed.). 2007. Islam and Muslim Politics in Africa. London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Volpi, Frédéric. 2010. Political Islam Observed. New York: Oxford University Press USA.
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.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Muwahidah
Course secretaryMr Iain Harrison
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