AMERG001: Researching the Americas: Latin America and the Caribbean

Course convenor: Dr Néstor Castañeda

Course Tutors: Various

Module  Description

This team-taught course presents different methods for interdisciplinary research on Latin America and the Caribbean. It also reflects on the challenges of data mining and social science research in the region. In particular, this course explores how a range of social sciences, historical, and ethnographic research methods might be applied to Latin American and Caribbean societies and research problems. The first part of the course focuses on the basic concepts of social science research design and causal inference. The second part of the course present a general survey of qualitative and quantitative methods that could be used to do rigorous research on Latin America and the Caribbean. Finally, the last part of the class focuses on specific issues related to research design, conducting fieldwork, and the dynamics of dissertation writing. Additionally, we will have a couple of practical sessions on plagiarism, academic writing, and e-learning.

This course will provide students with preparation in the research methods and skills necessary to undertake independent research on Latin America and the Caribbean, and in particular the skills required to facilitate the research and writing of their dissertation.

Module Outline

Part I. Module introduction and overview

1. Basic Principles of Applied Research

Part II. Survey of Research Methods

2. Concepts, measurements, and data visualization

3. Basic descriptive statistics and analysis

4. Ethnographic methods

5. Elite Interviews and Process Tracing

6. Policy-oriented research

PART III. Mechanics of writing a dissertation

7. Defining a research question

8. Designing and conducting fieldwork

9. Writing a dissertation proposal

10. Dissertation workshop