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Course type: Corso per dottorandi
Value in ECTS: 1.5
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September 2013, 14h
Course Topic What types are there? This is a fundamental question of many research endeavors, whether you are analyzing content, documenting case studies, preparing an experiment, structuring an observation, developing prototypes or elaborate concepts, or conducting a literature review: Classifying an area, i.e., isolating discriminating attributes of items in it and structuring them accordingly into groups, is a fundamental prerequisite for theory building. This PhD-level course addresses this challenge by providing a systematic overview on classification, by offering pragmatic rules and standards, as well as graphic formats, for high-quality classifications in research, and by giving PhD students the opportunity to analyze and discuss seminal and innovative classifications within their field of research and present their own attempts at classifying relevant research phenomena in their research field.
Course Objectives Having completed this course, students will be able to interpret, assess, develop and visualize sound and useful classifications in the social sciences context. They will understand the role of classification for theory building, including the benefits and potential drawbacks of classifications. They will know how to respect the rules and standards for scientific typologies and taxonomies in their own PhD work. They will be able to detect and prevent frequent errors and inconsistencies in classifications. Course participants, finally, will become familiar with the most common forms of visualizing classifications for scientific purposes.
Teaching Methods and Course Structure The course will start with interactive warm-up exercises which consist of analyzing flawed classifications, gathering key requirements for scientific typologies, and classifying three complex areas. It then presents a systematic overview on the role and characteristics of classifications in science (with a particular emphasis on communication sciences). Each student will then be asked to present one seminal article containing a taxonomy or typology and present his or her evaluation of it (using the previously discussed criteria). In the final stage of the course, students will present their own attempts at classifying relevant research phenomena in their field of inquiry. The course equals 1.5 ECTS.
Course Modules: 1. Starting exercises, first lectures, assignments; 2. Lectures and discussion; 3. Student Paper Presentations and Discussions; 4. Paper and Typology Presentations and Discussions, 5. Conclusion and Course Summary.
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