Royal Military College of Canada / Collège militaire royale du Canada

Department of Politics and Economics

WS507: Research Methods for War Studies

David Last

Last offered by Prof Last in fall term 2009


Course Description

The course introduces the study of war from a multi-disciplinary perspective.  Quantitative and qualitative research methods and resources are introduced. Major trends and interpretations in the examination of conflict and violence are explored, as are issues and problems of contemporary research.

This course is scheduled to be offered online in fall term 2009.


WS507 is a required course if you are taking a War Studies MA with the thesis pattern.  If you are not yet certain whether you wish to write a thesis, this course may help you decide by forcing you to go through the steps necessary to define, design, and plan a manageable masters-level research project or thesis.  In a previous iteration, of seven students taking the course, three had clear thesis goals before commencing, one defined a thesis during the course, and three decided to complete with the course pattern.

Because the course is designed primarily to help students frame their research or thesis project, and each project is different, it aims to cover a wide range of relevant design considerations and methods.  The coverage is therefore wide but shallow, and the intent is to familiarize rather than develop mastery in any particular method; whatever method you plan to use in a thesis will require expert advice and supervision, and you should discuss your specific design and methods with your supervisor to ensure that you can develop the competence to use them effectively.

For the course routine and tips on how to work through the course, go to “START”Start.htmlshapeimage_2_link_0

Academic Misconduct

The following message is brought to you by the Deans’ meetings, the Registrar’s office, and by the letter M: “Academic misconduct, including plagiarism, cheating, and other violations of academic ethics, is a serious academic infraction for which penalties may range from a recorded caution to expulsion from the College.  The RMCC Academic Regulations Section 23 defines plagiarism as: “Using the work of others and attempting to present it as original thought, prose or work. This includes failure to appropriately acknowledge a source, misrepresentation of cited work, and misuse of quotation marks or attribution.”  It also includes “the failure to acknowledge that work has been submitted for credit elsewhere.”  All students should consult the published statements on Academic Misconduct contained in the Royal Military College of Canada Undergraduate Calendar, Section 23.”

This version of WS507 was developed by David Last without compensation as part of a normal teaching load. It is neither the property nor the responsibility of RMC Division of Continuing Studies.  It is housed on a private web site paid for by Dr. Last.  Any requests for use of the course material must be referred to the author.  The web site is password protected for the use of students enrolled in the course or supervised by Dr. Last, and copyright material is made available only to these students under “fair use” rules.

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