Development Studies Special Topics A

Subject DEVT90007 (2010)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2010.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2010:

July, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable


Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 4 x 5 hour seminars and 1 4 hour seminar 5-9 July inclusive.
Total Time Commitment: In addition to the contact time students should aim to spend an average of 10 hours per week during the assessment period
Prerequisites: Admission to a graduate or postgraduate program.
Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: Knowledge gained in an undergraduate degree in a relevant field of study.
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.

The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website :


Dr Violeta Schubert


Dr Violeta Schubert

Subject Overview:

This subject is offered in a 5-day intensive mode by Professor Michael Woolcock from the World Bank. It is designed to provide postgraduate students in the social sciences with an overview of the role of development interventions (i.e., policies and projects) in the broader process of social change in developing countries, and the role that social theory and research methods can play in helping to design and assess them. A particular focus will be placed on the use of mixed methods (i.e., integrated qualitative and quantitative designs) to assess not just the mean ‘outcomes’ associated with these interventions, but the variation surrounding that mean in different contexts, and the processes by which that variation is obtained. In addition to some formal lecture material, students will also be given a range of case studies of actual examples from recent field research, and an opportunity to present their work to the class for constructive feedback.


Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • gain advanced analytical skills related to development issues.
  • become familiar with current debates in the field of development.
  • expand their knowledge of development theories.
  • be able to pursue research in a specialised area of study.
Assessment: Written assignments totaling 5000 words, (due date: to be advised at the start of the semester).
Prescribed Texts:

Key background readings will be provided to accompany each lecture.

Recommended Texts:

Angrist, Joshua and Jorn-Steffen Pischke (2009) Mostly Harmless Econometrics: An Empiricist’s Companion Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Brady, Henry E. and David Collier (eds.) (2004) Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield

Burawoy, Michael (1998) “The Extended Case Method” Sociological Theory 16(1): 4-33

George, Alexander and Andrew Bennett (2005) Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Gerring, John (2006) The Case Study Method: Principles and Practices New York: Cambridge University Press

Goldstone, Jack (1998) “Initial Conditions, General Laws, Path Dependence, and Explanation in Historical Sociology” American Journal of Sociology 104(3): 829-45

King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba (1994) Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press

Mahoney, James (2000) “Strategies of Causal Inference in Small-N Analysis” Sociological Methods and Research 28(4): 387-424

Mahoney, James and Gary Goertz (2004) “The Possibility Principle: Choosing Negative Cases in Qualitative Research” American Political Science Review 98(4): 653-670

Mahoney, James, Erin Kimball, and Kendra Koivu (2009) “The Logic of Historical Explanation in the Social Sciences” Comparative Political Studies 42(1): 114-146

Manski, Charles (1999) Identification Problems in the Social Sciences Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Morgan, Stephen and Christopher Winship (2007) Counterfactuals and Causal Inference: Methods and Principles for Social Research New York: Cambridge University Press

Morra, Linda and Ray Rist (2009) The Road to Results: Designing and Conducting Effective Development Evaluations Washington, DC: World Bank

Ragin, Charles (1988) The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies Berkeley: University of California Press

Seawright, Jason and John Gerring (2008) “Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options” Political Research Quarterly 61(2): 294-308

Steinmetz, George (2004) “Odious Comparisons: Incommensurability, the Case Study, and Small N's in Sociology” Sociological Theory 22(3): 371-400

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Students who successfully complete this subject will:

  • be able to write clear and coherent reports.
  • think critically about conceptual issues.
  • demonstrate relevance of the topic to broader development debates.
Links to further information:

This subject will be taught by a guest lecturer, Professor Michael Woolcock. Michael is Professor of Social Science & Development Policy in the Brooks World Poverty Institute at the University of Manchester and Senior Social Scientist, Development Research Group at the World Bank.

Related Course(s): Master of Development Studies (Gender & Development)
Master of Development Studies(CWT)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Development Studies

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