Seminar in Research Methods (POLS 630)

2014 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Ali Rana At─▒lgan,
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Doctoral, Master
Formal lecture
Discussion based learning
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This seminar is aimed to provide an in-depth discussion and extensive reading and research and research on a selected topic in various aspects of quantitative research methodology. Besides guiding lectures on cutting edge topics students are expected to take the initiative and actively contribute to seminar debates as well as writing papers aiming to form a substantial part of their thesis work.


Aims and scope
Which network structures favor the rapid spread of new ideas, behavior, or technologies? Under what circumstances can a minority of individuals influence an exceptional number of their peers? Our technological and financial-economical systems have become dependent on networks of considerable complexity. This has made the behavior of these systems difficult to reason and hence made them susceptible to disruptions that transform localized events into cascading failures. The emergence of pervasive data on human mobility, migration and communication has ferreted out patterns that may answer such questions and that constitute thorough understanding via simple models. In this course, we will set the stage with examples/phenomena. Then with qualitative thought experiments and quantitative simple models, we will crystallize our thinking. We shall try to understand if a principle or a recurring observation may hold across many settings with broader implications. No a priori knowledge about social sciences and mathematics is necessary. Curiosity, persistence, and perseverance are sufficient both to contribute to the moderation of the course and to benefit from the learning outcomes.


(a) Calculate measures pertinent to a thorough analysis of networks, including mean coordination cumber, clustering coefficient, embeddedness, neighborhood overlap, average path length, and their distributions
(b) Determine bridges and local bridges in the networks and calculate betweenness centrality of nodes and links
(c) Detect if the given network is balanced or unbalanced and analyze if the growth of the network changes its character
(d) Estimate if more than couple of common friends or common focus groups increase the propensity of constructing a new link between any arbitrary elements of the network
(e) Check if homophily exist in the network under consideration and analyze the roots if it is due to mutable (inverse selection) or immutable (selection) characteristics
(f) Determine which network structures facilitates more the spread of virus, fashion, ideas, behavior, or technologies and what are the common factors of efficient diffusion in networks
(g) Construct archetypical networks, such as Erdis-Renyi, power-law, small-world, and analyze their properties mentioned n (a).


1. Develop and deepen the current and advanced knowledge in the field with original thought and/or research and come up with innovative definitions based on Master's degree qualifications 4

2. Conceive the interdisciplinary interaction which the field is related with ; come up with original solutions by using knowledge requiring proficiency on analysis, synthesis and assessment of new and complex ideas. 4

3. Evaluate and use new information within the field in a systematic approach. 4

4. Develop an innovative knowledge, method, design and/or practice or adapt an already known knowledge, method, design and/or practice to another field; research, conceive, design, adapt and implement an original subject. 4

5. Critical analysis, synthesis and evaluation of new and complex ideas. 4

6. Gain advanced level skills in the use of research methods in the field of study. 4

7. Contribute the progression in the field by producing an innovative idea, skill, design and/or practice or by adapting an already known idea, skill, design, and/or practice to a different field independently. 3

8. Broaden the borders of the knowledge in the field by producing or interpreting an original work or publishing at least one scientific paper in the field in national and/or international refereed journals. 3

9. Demonstrate leadership in contexts requiring innovative and interdisciplinary problem solving. 3

10. Develop new ideas and methods in the field by using high level mental processes such as creative and critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. 4

11. Investigate and improve social connections and their conducting norms and manage the actions to change them when necessary. 4

12. Defend original views when exchanging ideas in the field with professionals and communicate effectively by showing competence in the field. 3

13. Ability to communicate and discuss orally, in written and visually with peers by using a foreign language at least at a level of European Language Portfolio C1 General Level. 3

14. Contribute to the transition of the community to an information society and its sustainability process by introducing scientific, technological, social or cultural improvements. 3

15. Demonstrate functional interaction by using strategic decision making processes in solving problems encountered in the field. 3

16. Contribute to the solution finding process regarding social, scientific, cultural and ethical problems in the field and support the development of these values. 3

1. Develop the ability to use critical, analytical, and reflective thinking and reasoning 4

2. Reflect on social and ethical responsibilities in his/her professional life. 3

3. Gain experience and confidence in the dissemination of project/research outputs 3

4. Work responsibly and creatively as an individual or as a member or leader of a team and in multidisciplinary environments. 4

5. Communicate effectively by oral, written, graphical and technological means and have competency in English. 3

6. Independently reach and acquire information, and develop appreciation of the need for continuously learning and updating. 3

1. Develop a thorough knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in the field and apply them in research design and data analysis. 4

2. Assess the impact of the economic, social, and political environment from a global, national and regional level. 3

3. Know how to access written and visual, primary and secondary sources of information, interpret concepts and data from a variety of sources in developing disciplinary and interdisciplinary analyses. 3

1. Begin to grasp historical evolution and contemporary character of world politics. 3


  Percentage (%)
Midterm 70
Exam 30



Easley, D. and J. Kleinberg, Networks, Crowds, and Markets ?
Reasoning about a Highly Connected World. Cambridge University Press, 2010.