Thesis Course 1

Course lecturer: Dr. Fabio de Castro
Periode: 2 November - 29 March
Schedule: Friday at 12.30-15.00
Course Load: 6 EC
Course ID: 180410016Y

This course aims at designing research proposal according to all academic and ethical standard that includes a theoretical framework that demonstrates students’ knowledge and understanding of the research theme, problem and location where they plan to execute their research and a methodology that fits the research theme, problem and location and shows their ability to apply their theoretical knowledge.

Upon successful completion of this course, students will:
- acquire basic knowledge on theoretical foundations of multidisciplinary research;
- practice qualitative and quantitative research methods in social science;
- operationalize concepts into a methodological strategy;
- present and discuss their research ideas;
- reflect on their own positionality in relation to the situation they expect in the field;
- develop a research plan.

The Thesis Course 1 is meant to prepare you for conducting research in Latin America. This course will focus on how to elaborate a research proposal, how to use some research methods and how to write a thesis. The course is divided into four modules. The first module (Research Proposal) deals with basic theoretical foundation of multidisciplinary research and how to write a research proposal. Special attention will be given to how to identify a research issue and elaborate a research question. The second module (Methods and Analysis) covers different research methods from various social science disciplines. Both qualitative and quantitative methods will be presented and discussed in order to help each student to design a proper methodological strategy to answer the research question. The third module (Academic Writing) provides you with a general explanation on academic writing both in terms of content (e.g., argumentation, coherence, empiricism) and form (e.g., format, editing, referencing). Finally, the last module (Getting Ready to Go) addresses practical aspects of conducting fieldwork in Latin America such as arranging accommodation, building up local network, dealing with cultural differences, and being aware of safety issues.
The course starts immediately after the CMP Introduction Course. During the Research Proposal module, classes take place every other week in order to give the student more time to develop their research ideas and formulate their research question with support from your supervisor. This module will end in December with a session where each student will present his/her research idea to the group and staff members. Between January and February, the classes take place weekly and run parallel with individual supervision of writing of the research proposal. During this period, the second and third modules will address relevant methods and information for the elaboration of the research proposal along with assigned exercises. At the end of the third module, a seminar will be held where all students will present the first version of their research proposal to the group and staff members. The fourth module will address logistical issues related to the preparation of the field trip and conduct during fieldwork.

Form of instruction and assessment
Each class combines content-theoretical segment and skills-learning segment in which practical issues of the research proposal are discussed. Supporting literature is required for some classes.
Students will prepare seven assignments related to methodological tools and academic writing skills which will help them to develop their research proposal. Final grade will be based on the combination of four selected assignments (50%) and the final research proposal (50%).

Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2nd Edition
Other articles will be added according to particular research themes and methodological tools.

For the examination dates please consult the timetable on
Click here for the course description in the UvA Studiegids.

Registration and Participation

UvA Students
Students registered at the University of Amsterdam can register for the CEDLA courses through SIS.

Students registered at other Dutch universities
BA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register as a guest student Spanish Language and Culture (‘bijvakstudent Spaanse Taal en Cultuur’) at the University of Amsterdam in Studielink.

MA students that are registered at another Dutch university can register through our digital registration form.

Persons who are interested in our courses, but are not registered as students at a university, may participate in some courses under certain provisions. Those interested, should provide the secretariat with some information on their background, their background knowledge and their special interest in taking the course. Non-students can register for the courses through our digital registration form

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the CEDLA secretariat. We are open on weekdays from 9.00 to 17.00 hours.

Telephone: +31 20 525 3498

Picture: Adam Cohn (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)