Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


Required for all entering DUSP Ph.D students; others by permission of instructor only.

Course Description

This course covers approaches to research and evaluation in the planning field, for those preparing to write 1st-year doctoral and other research papers. Topics include: narrowing down research interests to manageable and valid research proposals, proposal-writing, using quantitative and qualitative techniques complementarily, interviewing and other fieldwork challenges. Readings include: good examples of evaluation and research methodology; the behavior of organizations, whether public-sector bureaucracies, firms, or NGOs; the politics and political economy of the planning world; and examples of good 1st-year doctoral papers at DUSP. Uses a seminar-type format in which readings, class discussions, and assignments are built around (1) generic themes that run across the research interests and paper topics of students in the class, and (2) lessons about methodology to be learned from the case comparison studies assigned.


All students will write a draft and, later, a final version of a research proposal, whether first-year paper or other. These papers, up to 10 double-spaced pages each, are due respectively in weeks 8 and 11. Students will also be required to review the drafts submitted by other students, and submit their comments in week 9.

Prior to that, students will write two short papers (up to five double-spaced pages each) of a "diary" or "journal" type, with the purpose of reflecting on the readings and class discussions as related to various interesting research questions. These papers are due in weeks 2B and 7.  Class participation is also a critical part of the class: detailed instructions for class participation for three sessions are presented to help students prepare.

Attendance at all class sessions is required; absences allowed for emergencies only, and with permission of instructor. Further instructions on papers will be handed out and explained in class. No late papers will be accepted.


Grades will be based on the following: active participation in class discussions and completing reading assignments before class; grades on last two papers (first two papers will not be graded); improvement on papers and contributions to class discussion as the semester progresses. Late papers and absence from class will reduce grades.