Research, Argumentation, and Writing Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences


Comparative Studies of Ideas and Cultures (3rd level)


Course code: 07

Year of study: 1st year

Course principal:
Prof. Borut Telban, Ph.D.


Workload: Lectures 60 hours, seminar 30 hours.

Course type: obligatory course

Languages: Slovene

Learning and teaching methods: lectures, discussions classes

Objectives and competences

This interdisciplinary course offers students in different fields of the humanities and social sciences an insight into the entire research process with inclusion of guest lecturers, from preparation for research to the final product: publication of results. After an overview of the multiplicity of research methods, the main emphasis is on critical reading of literature, developing thinking skills and related ideas and arguments, and thorough understanding of structures, methods, and plans for academic writing. Students are expected to be able to speak and write in various academic and public contexts.



None required.


Content (Syllabus outline)

  • Research methodology in the humanities and social sciences:
  • Various approaches in the humanities and social sciences
  • Preparatory period and choosing a topic
  • Theoretical orientation
  • Selection and preparation of research methods
  • Quantitative and qualitative methods
  • Fieldwork
  • Archival research
  • Finding relevant literature and using the internet
  • The quality of research:
  • Data collection: quantity and quality
  • The history of the research topic and the present state of the art
  • Thorough insights and understanding
  • Active and critical reading of sources
  • Summarizing and evaluating sources in one’s own words
  • Analysis of data and views
  • Synthesis
  • Argumentation:
  • Outlining arguments
  • Logics and relevance of arguments
  • The importance of facts in building arguments
  • Objectivity and subjectivity of arguments
  • Development arguments
  • Proofs and convincing arguments
  • Critical analysis of other researchers’ arguments
  • The most common mistakes in argumentation (lack of knowledge, generalizations, non sequitur, ad hominem, etc.)
  • Structure and organization of academic writing:
  • Organizing thoughts
  • Developing and positioning a thesis
  • Defending one’s position
  • Choosing language for one’s aim and audience
  • Narrative and descriptive writing
  • Analytical and deductive/inductive ways of writing
  • Illustrating meanings and supporting arguments with examples
  • Comparison
  • Choosing titles and key words
  • Abstracts, introductions, and conclusions
  • Constructing paragraphs and connection
  • Sources and citation
  • Plagiarism
  • Writing academic texts:
  • Writing as a process
  • Writing strategies
  • Relevance and clarity of writing
  • Sketches, corrections, improvements, and rearrangements of texts
  • Revisions
  • Writing research projects, reports, syllabuses
  • Writing articles and essays
  • Writing a doctoral dissertation



  • Cottrell, Stella. 2005. Critical Thinking Skills: Developing Effective Analysis and Argument (Palgrave Study Guides). Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Mounsey, Chris. 2002. One Step Ahead: Essays and Disertations. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Soles Derek & Graham Lawler (ur.). 2005. The Academic Essay: How to Plan, Draft, Write and Edit. Studymates Ltd.
  • Swales, John M. and Christine B. Feak. 2004. Academic Writing for Graduate Students: Essential Tasks and Skills, 2nd ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
  • Weston, Anthony. 2006. Creativity for Critical Thinkers. Oxford: Oxford University Press.



Active participation in discussion classes and a short written paper (5–8 pages) in which the student analyses a particular problem supported by relevant literature. The student must pass a written exam covering the entire course.