RE 496 - Field Research Seminar

The Field Research Seminar is an opportunity for in-depth study of a particular aspect of site specific, supervised field research focusing on the topics of sustainability, immigration or multiculturalism. The course is divided into two sections: theoretical and practical. Students will work closely with the course instructor, as well as an individual Project Supervisor chosen from the IES Abroad Nice faculty.

Through a series of eight class sessions during the first half of the semester, the theoretical aspect of the seminar will introduce students to qualitative and quantitative research methods, as well as the design, development and writing of research and scholarly projects. The seminar will help students develop the tools and skills required to carry out a research project and deliver a high-quality research paper.

Students are required to submit an application with two to three research topics prior to arriving in Nice. The instructor will work individually with students to help them develop their ideas, explain available primary and secondary sources in Nice, and guide them through the IRB process. It is assumed that most students will be conducting independent research for the first time. Students will be mentored by the course instructor and their project supervisor throughout the preliminary process. By planning and completing a field research project, students develop perseverance and self-confidence as field workers/ practitioners as well as sound ethical sense in conducting cross-cultural and field-based study.

Some examples of possible projects are:

  • Cultural and political integration of pied noir in the south of France
  • Stuck at the Ventimiglia border: The implications of the Dublin regulation for migrants trying to reach France from Italy
  • Policies and programs of immigrant resettlement in the Cote d’Azur
  • The role of the Monaco Red Cross in the Camporoya migrant reception camp.
  • Comparative study of the integration of migrants in Nice and Marseille.
  • Examination of the Nice Eco Valley project compatibility with climate change in the Var floodplain.
  • Means for reducing water demand and saving water in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) region.
  • Water demand management in the Sospel municipality (Monaco hinterlands) in the context of increasing water scarcity and growing human pressures on resources.
  • Examination and analysis of the immigration patterns and settlements of different ethnic groups during the 19th and 20th century in Nice (Russians, Italians, Armenians, Algerians, Moroccans, Tunisians).

The student will spend a minimum of 60 hours on the research project. This includes time spent reading, developing contacts, interviewing (if appropriate to the topic), participating, making field observations, writing, and meeting with their course instructor and project supervisor. Students are expected to use resources available to them only in France, both people and places, including libraries, NGOs and other relevant facilities. Students are not expected to have the skills necessary to conduct primary research in French, but are encouraged to integrate French into their research projects as much as possible. Course instructor and project supervisors will advise students’ choice of topic taking into consideration linguistic limitations.

IES Abroad conforms to US-based university standards and federal guidelines for human subject research. Therefore the research topic must conform to the norms of academic ethics and policies related to human subject research. If a student wishes to work on a topic that the course instructor has rejected, the student may appeal their proposal to the IES Abroad Institutional Review Board (IRB). No research may be done on a topic that has been declined by the IRB.

If appropriate to their undergraduate course of study, the project may form the basis for a senior thesis, or it may be a chance to learn formally about a new topic of interest.

Course Information


Research Seminar

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