Introduction to Research Methods (IRM)

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation CoreSHS2028212

Semester and Year Offered: 2nd Semester

Course Coordinator and Team: Rachna Chaudhary

Email of course coordinator: rachna[at]aud[dot]ac[dot]in


Course Objectives/Description:

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the fundamentals of research in the social sciences and humanities. Students engage with a variety of texts and different research methodologies. This requires a multi-layered approach beginning with engaging students with the idea of research, the conventional research paradigm developed within positivism, the critique of the conventional perspective from a range of positions particularly feminist epistemology. This would serve as an introduction to the concept of research. The course will enable students to have comprehensive knowledge and skills in the area of research methods and train themselves to apply them towards writing their dissertation.

Course Outcomes:

On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Identify key aspects of Research Methods.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of key texts and topics related to Research Methods.
  3. Trained to deploy specific research methods for specific research enquired.
  4. Demonstrate an awareness of critical skills required to read a range of texts
  5. Apply research skills to source materials for class presentations and assessment tasks

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

  1. Thinking about Research: This module will initiate the process of thinking of research areas and animating that process with linking it with research methods.
  2. Meanings and Aspects of Methodology: The focus of this module is to discuss the meaning and aspects of research method and their significance in doing research.
  3. An Introduction to Epistemology: This module introduces students to the theoretical basis of methodologies,
  4. Data and Basic Processes of data collection: This is an exposure of students to processes of quantitative research and equips the students to deal with and use basic statistical tools and concepts.
  5. Designing a Research Project: This is the practical aspect of the course whereby students develop a research project and explain why and which research methodologies they will be using.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Annotated Bibliography: 40%
  • Term Paper/Research Proposal: 40%
  • Class participation and attendance – 20%

Reading List:

  • Harding, Sandra. 1987. "Introduction: Is There a Feminist Method?" In, Feminism and Methodology (pp. 1-14). Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Pp. 1-3.
  • • Prabha Kotiswaran, “Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: An Introduction,” Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India (New Delhi: OUP, 2012).
  • Shahid Amin, “prologue and epilogue”, in Event, Metaphor, Memory: ChauriChaura 1922-1992 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press. 1995).
  • Ranjana Padhi, “Introduction,” Those Who Did Not Die: Impact of the Agrarian Crisis on Women in Punjab (New Delhi: Sage, 2012).
  • Emile Durkheim, “What is a Social Fact?”, in Steven Lukes, trans. The Rules of the Sociological Method (New York: Free Press, 1982).
  • Karl Marx, “The Method of Political Economy”, Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy.
  • Max Weber, “The Meaning of „Ethical Neutrality‟ in Sociology and Economics,” in Methodology of the Social Sciences.
  • Dorothy E. Smith, “A peculiar Eclipsing: Women‟s Exclusion from Man‟s Culture” in The everyday world as problematic: A feminist Sociology. Boston: Northeastern University (1987). Pp. 17-43.
  • Claude Levi-Strauss, TristesTropiques(selections)
  • Gopal Guru, “How Egaliterian are the Social Sciences in India?, in Economic and political weekly. Vol. 37, No. 50 (2002). Pp. 5003-5009.
  • Mahasweta Devi, “Witch-Hunting in West Bengal: In Whose Interest?” in Dust on the Road (Calcutta: Seagull, 2010).
  • Emily Martin, The Egg and the Sperm
  • Ann Oakley, “Interviewing women: A contradiction in terms,” in Helen Roberts ed., Doing Feminist Research (London: Routledge, 1981).
  • Renato Rosaldo, “From the door of His Tent: The Fieldworker and the Inquisitor”. Pp. 77-97.
  • Palriwala, Rajni. 2005. “Fieldwork in a Post-Colonial Anthropology: Experience and the Comparative.” In Social Anthropology.European Association of Social Anthropology.13, 2. Pp. 151-170.
  • Module 5: Quantitative Research: Basic Statistical Tools and Concepts
  • Sachar Committee Report (selections) 2003.
  • Charles R. Hale, “What is activist research?”,SSRC Vol. 1, Nos. 1- 2.
  • Pierre Bourdieu, selections from Distinction: A social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Pp. 13-96.