Watson Institute at Brown University
International and Public Affairs

Research Methods

International and Public Affairs concentrators are required to take two methodology courses, one in qualitative methods, and one in quantitative methods. These two research methods courses complement the concentration’s substantive courses in important ways. Substantive, topically-focused courses (i.e., the junior and senior seminars, track electives, etc.) emphasize important skills of analysis and critical thinking, as well as deeper study of particular topics and regions. Research methods courses, then, teach students specific tools of analysis that can be used to conduct deeper research on topics of the student’s own choice. The tools taught by the research methods courses are important for capstone and thesis projects, but, like all aspects of critical thinking, will be useful throughout the student’s life. 

Qualitative methods 

To fulfill the qualitative methods requirement, International and Public Affairs concentrators take

    • ANTH 1236 Urban Life: Anthropology in and of the City
    • ANTH 1940 Ethnographic Research Methods
    • BIOL 1575 Evaluation of Health Information Systems
    • EDUC 1100 Intro to Qualitative Research Methods
    • IAPA 1500 Methods in Development Research
    • IAPA 1700B Modes of Social Change
    • SOC 1260 Market Research in Public and Private Sectors
    • SOC 1340 Principles and Methods of Geographic Information Systems

In exceptional circumstances, with the concentration advisor’s consent, students may take an alternative qualitative methods course offered on campus at Brown.

Quantitative methods

To fulfill the quantitative methods requirement, International and Public Affairs concentrators may take any of the following courses:

    • APMA 1650  Statistical Inference
    • CSCI 0300 Introduction to Computation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 
    • CSCI 0111 Computing Foundations: Data
    • ECON 1620 Introduction to Econometrics
    • EDUC 1110 Intro Statistics for Education Research and Policy Analysis
    • EDUC 1230 Applied Statistics for Ed Research and Policy Analysis
    • POLS 1600 Political Research Methods
    • SOC 1100 Intro Statistics For Social Research

Language study as a substitute for one of the above methods requirements

The International and Public Affairs concentration recognizes the importance of language study as an important tool for research and understanding. Language study, though not required, is strongly encouraged and rewarded in the International and Public Affairs concentration. Learn more about language placement exams.

    • Students may substitute one of the concentration’s two required research methods -- either the qualitative or quantitative research methods course -- with successful completion of a Brown or Brown-approved language course at the 0400 level or above.
    • The upper-level language course must be taken for a grade.