Chapter 11 Group Projects

Group projects are a core element of the course, but they are not part of your formal assessment. The group projects are designed to get you used to performing research as a team. For this reason, don’t be intimidated by the scale of the output required - it is calibrated to be too much for an individual, but easily manageable for a small group. You will be assigned a group by me. The projects will be organised on a OneNote notebook, which you will get access to at the start of term.

11.1 Using OneNote

OneNote is a Microsoft product that is selected for ease of use. If you have used Microsoft Word, then the general layout of the software should be familiar to you. The notebook will be accessible if you log into your KCL email through the web portal, and then select OneNote from the options pane.

The notebook will be laid out, so you don’t have to do any page creation/layout. However, there are some ground rules:

  • For clarity, use Harvard referencing where needed. So “The cat sat on the mat (Doe, 2013, 3)” or similar.66 The KCL library offers referencing guides here https://libguides.kcl.ac.uk/reference/KingsHarvardV1
  • Don’t edit other people’s work without permission.
  • I’ll ask you to nominate one person in your group to be the person I contact with questions.

11.2 Aims

Why do this? There are three reasons that I have included this activity in the course (and like activities in other courses that I convene). First is that this activity enables you to practice and develop teamworking skills. Second, this activity is designed so that you perform a related piece of group research prior to your assessment. The literature search precedes the literature review, and the case study precedes your essay. Lastly, this activity is intended to get you to think about the possibilities inherent in open and collaborative research efforts.

11.3 Group Research Projects Timeline

All students will do projects 1 (literature search) & 2 (case study) in term 1.

This is the summary timeline (it may be tweaked slightly):

  • Week 2: Groups assigned for Literature Search Project
  • Week 6: Deadline for literature search, groups assigned for Case Study Project
  • Week 11: Deadline for case study

11.4 Literature Search

There are 11 lectures that make up the main lecture series. For this group research project, you will be tasked with performing a literature search on one of the lecture topics. The idea here is that as a group, you should be able to identify from reading the key works in a given field much easier than you ever could as an individual.

The goal of this project is a functional output. It is designed to be something of use to your fellow students. Note that since other groups will be working on separate projects, you will be able to benefit from their work.

For a minimum of expected output:

  • 30+ key works on the topic, including
    • 2-4 key readings for introduction to the topic (not including those on the reading list)
    • 2 works per case study
    • 2 works connecting the topic to war/warfare, political repression, strategic studies, security studies, normative theory

There will be a page on the OneNote project for you to put the material up. There will also be space beneath it to paste the references in bibtex format. This will allow me (once all the projects are done) to make you a professional-loooking extended reading guide built by yourselves.

11.5 Develop a Case Study

Use the case studies in this handbook as a model, and develop your own as a group. I will be making sure that there are no overlaps between groups so that this exercise is of maximum benefit to everyone. Again, the idea of this project is that you are able to work together to perform a task that would be too much for any single person to undertake, so a mix of group and independent work will be necessary to produce your output.

The goal of this project is a functional output. It is designed to be something of use to your fellow students. Note that since other groups will be working on separate projects, you will be able to benefit from their work.

For a minimum of expected output:

  • 30+ key works on the topic, including
    • 2-4 key readings for introduction to the topic (not including those on the reading list)
    • 2 works per class theme
    • Further reading material (Big books and interesting resources that you find)

There will be a page on the OneNote project for you to put the material up. There will also be space beneath it to paste the references in bibtex format. This will allow me (once all the projects are done) to make you a professional-loooking extended reading guide built by yourselves.