Methodological Issues in Studying China and Japan in Humanities and Social Sciences (WAX331/790Y405)

This course informs students about methodological issues related to studying China and Japan in humanities and social sciences and provides students with basic tools to evaluate research done by professional academics. It discusses different research strategies associated with studying China and Japan both generally and specifically with examples of existing research conducted on China and Japan. Issues covered include qualitative and quantitative methods in Asian studies, types of research designs, using Chinese and Japanese language skills in research, fieldwork strategies and finding research materials. Lectures are given by researchers from University of Helsinki and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Course assessment is done based on course work and final exam, to which the responsible teacher will also provide additional texts on research methodology. This course is recommended for students about to conduct their own research project preferably on the postgraduate level (syventävät opinnot maisteritasolla).

This course is organized by the department of World Cultures, faculty of humanities at the University of Helsinki. It has been included into the methodological training basket (menetelmäkori) of the faculty of social sciences under the code 790Y405 "advanced methodological studies in political science (tutkimusmenetelmien syventävät opinnot valtio-opissa)". 

Place: University of Helsinki Main Building, PR aud XVI
Time: Tue 16-18

Course schedule 

Part I Introduction to methodology: collecting and analysing data

9.9. Elina Sinkkonen: What is academic research?
16.9. Elina Sinkkonen: Qualitative methods
23.9. Elina Sinkkonen: Quantitative methods and use of numerical data

Part II Using methods in research on China and Japan

30.9. Elina Sinkkonen: Fieldwork and interviews in China
7.10. Bart Gaens: Fieldwork and interviews in Japan
- note for students: please read Arase's text on field research in Japanese politics before the class
14.10. Tiina Airaksinen: Archival materials in China
28.10. Jyrki Kallio: Using classical texts in Chinese
4.11. Elina Sinkkonen: Surveys in China (and Japan)
11.11. Miika Pölkki: Using classical texts in Japanese and archives in Japan 
18.11. Elina Sinkkonen: Studying Sino-Japanese relations and using governmental sources
25.11. Elina Sinkkonen: Using Media and Internet sources
2.12. Course exam

Requirements (5 cr)

1) Lectures + homework from part I 
- Homework from lectures 1-3, see detailed information given in class
- Deadline for homework 3.10.

2) Exam 2.12.2014
(PR aud XVI,
- Lecture materials from all the lectures
- Articles (can be downloaded from MATSKUT service from Flamma)

3) Lecture diary
from part II (lectures 4-11)
- Choose one theme for a widened lecture diary (3-5 pages)
- Around one page lecture diary from the other lectures 
- Students absent more than once should write an additional widened lecture diary per absence (max. three)
- Email to Elina by 9.12.2014