IRLS503 Full Course (September 2019)

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 1 Discussion

International Organizations: Introduction and Overview

So that we are all on the same page from the outset, please read this blog post before posting and raise at least one point from it that you deem important in your Week 1 post: http://inpublicsafety.com/2016/01/sharpening-scholarly-skills-can-enhance-professional-performance/

After reading the Week 1 Lesson and completing the first readings, please address the following questions:

(1) Given that states are self-interested actors, why do IOs exist?

(2) What IOs, or kinds of IOs, do you find the most effective or necessary in international politics and why? Please differentiate between different types of IOs (e.g., IGOs, NGOs) to explain your answer.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 2 Discussion

IO Independence and Autonomy: Perspectives from Constructivism and Liberalism

After reading this week’s lesson notes and reading, please develop an argument that responds to each of the following questions:

(a) Do you think IGOs create a convergence of state interests?

(b) Do you think IGO membership results in socialization?

(b) Do IOs more generally help foster accountability among states?

Your answers should not regurgitate the conclusions of these articles, but rather critique them. Feel free to disagree with the authors if you find reason. For example, consider these questions in your answer: what assumptions undergird the arguments of these authors? To what degree are the authors’ conclusions generalizable across different issue areas, types of countries, or types of IOs?

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 3 Discussion

Institutions and Regimes: Perspectives from Realism and Liberalism

In 1994, Mearsheimer wrote an influential article in which he argued that only realism explains the international system and dismissed other approaches to international institutions. After reading the lesson notes and all of the assigned articles from this week, please compose a post that addresses each of the three points below.

Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of Mearsheimer’s perspective on international institutions,

Evaluate the counterarguments offered by Pevehouse and Russett (2006), and Ruggie (1982), and

Assess how relevant the realist paradigm is for making sense of international institutions and international regimes today.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 4 Discussion

Human Rights: Treaties, NGOs, and Transnational Networks

Our readings this week concern the question of why states adopt human rights treaties and join human rights organizations. We also learn about NGOs and transnational advocacy networks, and the challenges they face. Please compose a post that addresses each of the following questions:

How do we determine whether human rights IOs are effective?

Which types are most effective: human rights treaties, NGOs, or transnational advocacy networks?

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 5 Discussion

After completing the assigned readings and the lesson, what are some of the biggest challenges IOs face when attempting to preserve security and enact justice? Analyze some of the factors that determine how successfully or unsuccessfully IOs address those challenges.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 6 Discussion

International Financial Institutions: The IMF, World Bank, and WTO

After completing the assigned readings and reading the lesson notes, please prepare a post that addresses the following question.

Whom are IFIs, such as the IMF, World Bank, and WTO, accountable to? In preparing an answer to this question, analyze whose interests are represented through the work of these IFIs and some of the accountability challenges they face.

Note: the objective is not to repeat and agree with one article in this forum; there is no “correct” answer to this question. The best answers will be well-supported with citations from our readings and display critiques of key points. We should end up with a healthy debate.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 7 Discussion

Regional Organizations: The European Union

The readings this week apply different theoretical perspectives to analyze the European Union as a regional IO. For example, in the articles, we read about rationalism, social constructivism, multi-level governance, enforcement and management theory, and more. In addition, the lesson notes discuss intergovernmentalism, supranationalism, and veto player theory. Which theoretical perspective(s) do you find the most persuasive and why when it comes to analyzing EU policymaking? Which is the least persuasive and why? Please incorporate specific examples to support your arguments.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Week 8 Discussion

A Global IO: The United Nations

Questions are often raised about the effectiveness of the United Nations in conflict resolution and peace operations. To what extent has the UN been successful in mitigating or preventing conflict? Under what conditions are peace operations likely to be successful?

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Assignment Research Proposal

General Instructions for Assignments and Rubrics

All assignments should be written in Word and uploaded as attachments within the Assignments section of the classroom. Use 12 pt. New Roman font and double-space. Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file. Insert page numbers on all graduate-level work. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level.

Graduate Rubric 500-600 Level

Specific Instructions for the Research Proposal:

The purpose of this assignment is to derive a specific research focus and create a plan for carrying out your research. Please prepare a document that addresses each of the points below. Label each section and comprehensively address the points within each section. This assignment should be 2-3 pages in length.

(1) IO Selection and Research Question: Select an international organization to focus on and do some initial research to identify a problem with this IO. For example, is its effectiveness debatable? Does it suffer from accountability or legitimacy issues in its institutional design or decision-making processes? Is it unable to achieve its goals? Dominated by a few powerful member states? Unsuccessful in socializing certain member states? Unable to influence the behavior of states? Experiencing internal power struggles? Struggling for external support? Identify the problem and develop a specific research question to explore.

(2) Dependent Variable Identification, Definition, and Measurement: Take your research question and use it to identify your dependent variable (the outcome you are trying to explain). Example: Why is the UN not more effective at preventing conflict? Based on this research question, the outcome you are trying to explain is effectiveness at conflict prevention; therefore, that is your dependent variable. Next, explain how you will define your dependent variable and what criteria you will use to measure it. (Based on the example above, “effectiveness” would need to be defined, and you’d need to come up with some specific criteria for how to measure effectiveness.)

(3) Independent variable: An independent variable is a factor that influences the dependent variable. For example, if effectiveness is the dependent variable, it might be affected by the strength of cooperation among states in the IO. Identify at least one independent variable that you believe influences the dependent variable you identified above, and explain why.

(4) Hypothesis: A hypothesis is a prediction that puts forth a relationship between at least two variables. For example: stronger cooperation between states will increase effectiveness. In this example, you are proposing that variable A (the independent variable) increases variable B (the dependent variable). Using your dependent and independent variables, propose a preliminary hypothesis that you plan to investigate in the research paper. Make sure that your hypothesis is specific and can be tested in the analysis section of your research paper. Note: the goal is NOT to prove that your hypothesis is right; rather, it is to investigate the hypothesis to see how much support it has (or lacks). It’s OK if you don’t find strong support for your hypothesis. In that case, you’d use the Conclusion section of your research paper to explain why and to suggest avenues for future research.

(5) Research Method and Proposed Data Sources: Identify a research method that will allow you to test your hypothesis (examples: case study; comparative case study; content analysis in which you look for themes in documents/websites; statistical analysis to include percentages, correlations, or regression analysis). Explain the research method you will use and what it will entail.

Now that you have a research method, what quantitative or qualitative data will you use to investigate your hypothesis? If you are interested in using quantitative data, there are many publicly available datasets available from the World Bank, V-Dem, the CIA World Factbook, Transparency International, the World Values Survey, etc. Quantitative data can be used, for example, to establish trends or changes over time, to compare member states of an IO on certain indicators, etc.

Qualitative methods include case studies and comparative case studies in which you go into a great deal of depth (as opposed to the breadth of quantitative research). Qualitative studies also rely on data – data of a qualitative nature. Qualitative information can be collected from previous case studies, from collecting information from the websites of the IO and its member states, etc. Please name specific qualitative data sources that you will evaluate in your analysis. A common way of conducting qualitative research is to do a content analysis in which you look for specific words or phrases in texts such as websites or past case studies. See http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/guide.cfm?guideid=61.

IMPORTANT: the data that you use in your analysis (either quantitative or qualitative) must be different from the sources that you will review in your literature review.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Assignment Multimedia Literature Review

Assignment Instructions

There are two parts to this assignment: a 5 page written literature review and an audio summary. Each is described below. The literature review should be written in Word and uploaded as an attachment within the Assignments section of the classroom. Use 12 pt. New Roman font and double-space. Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file. Insert page numbers on all graduate-level work. The audio portion of this assignment should be uploaded along with the written literature review, and instructions are below. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level (please see the rubric below for the required number and type of sources, and the other criteria on which you will be assessed).

The Literature Review

The purpose of this assignment is to propose a theoretical perspective that informs your research and assess the scholarly literature that has been written on your research question, including how it informs your research question and hypothesis. It should be 5 pages in length, and accompanied by an audio component (see below).

Content of the literature review:

The literature review should assess (1) which theoretical approach that we have covered in the course best informs your overall argument and hypothesis (e.g., socialization and interest convergence, liberal institutionalism, structural realism, feminist theory, etc.) and (2) evaluate the findings from the scholarly literature that exists on your research topic.

Structure of the written literature review:

The literature review is NOT an annotated bibliography. Rather, it is an analytical exercise in which you evaluate a body of literature. As such, your literature review should be organized by theme (NOT an article-by-article summary). A good literature review is a thoughtful study of what has been written, a summary of the arguments and findings that exist (whether you agree with them or not), and is arranged thematically. The literature review should be written in coherent narrative style. At the end of the evaluation, there should still be gaps in the literature that you intend to fill with your research.

Here is a site explaining various ways to construct a literature review. Note that a good literature review is not a list of sources with description, but it involves synthesis and dissection of sources, with minimal use of quotes.

All references must be cited in Chicago/Turabian format, which means including page numbers.

The audio component:

Along with your written literature review, please submit a 5 minute audio file in which you summarize the main themes, areas of agreement and disagreement among scholars, and any gaps in knowledge that remain that your research can help address. Some options for recording the audio are below.

– Windows media audio file

– Audacity (audacity.sourceforge.net/) Audacity is an open source digital audio editor. You can use this tool to create audio files to share. Compatible across most of the major platforms, Audacity also works with a variety of audio formats.

IRLS 503 International Organizations

Assignment Research Paper

General Instructions for Assignments and Rubrics

All assignments should be written in Word and uploaded as attachments within the Assignments section of the classroom. Use Times 12 pt. font, double-space, and use standard one-inch margins. The research paper should be 10-16 pages in length (cover page and references do not count toward page length). Citations will conform to the Chicago/Turabian format and citations should be in-text parenthetical citations (author, date, page number). Be sure to put your name and class information on the document and put your name on the file. Insert page numbers on all graduate work. Assignments will be graded using a rubric appropriate for your class level.

Graduate Rubric 500-600 Level

The Research Paper

The final research paper should build on the information in your research proposal and should incorporate your week 5 literature review. It should also include revisions based on the feedback you have received on those assignments.

Here’s the format of the paper:

Title Page of the Paper. The title of your paper should be brief but should adequately inform the reader of your general topic and the specific focus of your research. Keywords relating to parameters, population, and other specifics are useful. ALWAYS use a title page and insert page numbers for graduate work! Your title page will include the title, name, course name and number, and professor’s name.

Please label each of the following sections in your research paper:

Introduction (1-2 pages): This section provides an overview of the topic that you are writing about. It situates your topic in a broader context. In addition, the introduction should clearly state your research question and hypothesis.

Literature Review (3-5 pages): This section should incorporate your week 5 literature review and any revisions based on feedback received.

Data and Methodology (1-2 pages): This section should incorporate any feedback received on your week 2 research proposal. This section provides the reader with a description of your strategy to conduct research for this paper. It identifies your dependent and independent variables and how you operationalized them. It describes the data you used (whether quantitative or qualitative) and the method you used to analyze it to arrive at your findings. This section also describes any limitations you discovered about your strategy and how you overcame them.

Analysis and Findings (4-5 pages): The results section of the research paper is where you report the findings of your study based upon the methodology you applied to gather information. The results section should simply state the findings of the research arranged in a logical sequence without bias or interpretation. When formulating the results section, it’s important to remember that the results of a study do not prove anything. Findings can only confirm or reject the hypothesis underpinning your study. Make sure that you make connections back to your hypothesis and the extent to which it was supported or not. Remember, we can also learn something from a hypothesis that was not supported by the data.

Conclusions (1-2 pages): This section will contain the concluding analytical arguments based on what research has revealed to answer the research question. Like any conclusion, it should provide a synopsis of the project, the strategy, and the results and what they add to the body of knowledge. This section should also offer suggestions for avenues of future research for other scholars, as all knowledge is evolutionary.

References (or Bibliography): This section will contain all references, cited in Turabian format, properly indented, and alphabetically arranged. You should compile these and add to them as you’ve gone along. They should be error free!