Abandoning France: The Process of Narrowing Research

Last night I entered a meeting with my research group frazzled and overwhelmed, feeling a little lost as to what we were doing.  We ended up spending over two hours focusing only on figuring out our framing and research question and our methods.  We ended up narrowing down a lot, both in terms of methodology and subject matter.

At first we were going to look at France and Germany, and how nuclear energy production influences international relationships.  We were going to take a solid international affairs approach, even though in the draft of our research proposal we did not mention international affairs at all in our background.  France and Germany have very different policy’s, and the perspectives on nuclear energy despite being adjacent to one another.  France uses more energy percentage-wise than any other country at 72.3% (World Nuclear Institute).  Germany, on the other hand, is in the process of phasing out nuclear energy (Petite 2013).  The international conflict this has caused interested us, but we were having trouble coming up with a research question and methodology in relationship to this topic that we all liked.  Therefore, we decided to focus specifically on Germany.  We are asking what the motives are for the two political parties that are responsible for this phase out.

Focusing on Germany and abandoning France in our research has made this project feel a lot cleaner and more organized.  Originally we were going to use a number of different methodology’s, some of which didn’t relate to our initial question very well.  For instance, we were going to use GIS, but that didn’t really relate to our initial focus question, “how do nuclear energy narratives differ in French and German politics?” Now we are just focusing on the statements given directly from the party’s in Germany responsible for the phase out, which are the Christian Democratic party and Social Democratic party (Staudenmaier 2017; Kersten 2012).  I feel a lot more confident in our project now that it seems manageable with the narrowing down on our topic and methods.


Kersten, Jens. 2012. “A Farewell to Residual Risk? A Legal Perspective on the Risks of Nuclear Power after Fukushima.” RCC Perspectives, no. 1: 51–64.

Petit, Pascal. 2013. “France and Germany Nuclear Energy Policies Revisited: A Veblenian Appraisal.” Panoeconomicus 60 (5): 687–98. https://doi.org/10.2298/PAN1305687P.

Staudenmaier, Rebecca. 2017. “Germany’s nuclear phase-out explained.” Deutsche Welle. http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-nuclear-phase-out-explained/a-39171204.

“World Statistics – Nuclear Energy Institute.” https://www.nei.org/Knowledge-Center/Nuclear-Statistics/World-Statistics.

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