HMRT 4003: Research Seminar in Human Rights

Dr. Noël A. Kinsella


Course Outline:

Students enrolled in this course will do a research project in human rights under the supervision of the instructor. The class will meet once a week for three hours over the fall semester. Students are expected to provide regular updates as to the progress of their work.

Methods and Research:

In the first four classes, the class shall discuss different methods and formats of research with the idea of preparing a research proposal and a final project. Since the study of human rights is inherently interdisciplinary, students shall not be restricted to any one prescribed method or format.

Week 1: Introduction to course and program of work. This session will be used to allow students to get acquainted with the course and its requirements. Students shall discuss their research background and from which discipline they come with the instructor.

Week 2: Methodology, theories and formats. Students shall come prepared to discuss the following:

Week3: Research and writing. Students will be introduced to the cue card method of research note taking. The development of a research question and a thesis statement will also be discussed.

Week 4: What is a proposal? Students will be introduced to the concept of proposal writing. The requirements and format of a proposal will be discussed.

Assignments (due in class unless stated otherwise):

1. Proposal 20%

The proposal shall consist of a discussion of the student's project, the method and format by which it shall be accomplished, and the resources available. Length: 15 pages

2. Oral Presentation of Proposal 10%

Students shall summarize their respective proposals in front of the instructor and the class and shall be prepared to take questions from both the instructor and fellow students. Presentation and questions shall not exceed ten minutes.

3. Preliminary Bibliography and Outline 10%

Students shall be expected to have a preliminary bibliography of no less than 15 sources including three of each of the following: books, government or NGO documents, academic journal articles, Internet sources. Students shall also be expected to have completed a preliminary outline that shows that they have read the sources in their bibliography and have constructed their basic arguments.

4. First/Partial Draft (handwritten acceptable) 20%

Students shall be expected to submit a copy of the work completed by this date. The first draft need not be complete, but the student must be able to demonstrate that significant progress has been made in transforming the basic arguments into a cohesive piece of research.

5. Final Project 40%

Students shall be expected to have the final version of their project to submit by the beginning of this class. Students shall present an overview of their projects to the class and take questions from the instructor and classmates. Length: 25-30 pages


Unless stated otherwise, all written assignments shall conform to the format rules set out in the Guidelines for Work In Human Rights at St. Thomas University.

If students elect to do a research project the format of which does not lend well to written presentation, i.e. video documentary, the students may present their project the way for which the format allows. For non-written projects, the ratio of minutes presented to pages due shall be 1:1.

Dr. Noel Kinsella
Human Rights 2003 - Introduction to Human Rights

Human Rights / Faculty / STU Homepage

Atlantic Human Rights Centre