This module introduces the basic concepts required for evaluating and designing research on political phenomena. Students will be equipped with the vocabulary and basic logical framework required to critically assess academic research, and to design their dissertation research in an independent and rigorous fashion. Key concepts will include: theory, data, case, independent variable, dependent variable, scientific method,
description, inference, causality, and methodology. This module will serve as a basis for a subsequent module on research methods
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Students will gain a working knowledge of how to develop a research strategy given a research question (knowledge and understanding; transferable and generic).
- Students will learn the inherent problems and dilemmas of drawing inferences from data (knowledge and understanding; transferable and generic).
- Students will gain an understanding of the types of research questions which can be asked of political phenomena (knowledge and understanding; subject specific intellectual).
- Students will gain the working vocabulary required to think and speak about the quality and limitations of previous research (knowledge and understanding; transferable and generic).
The first half of the syllabus will centre on research design moving on to methods and in particular experimental methods as an example of a research design.
Week 1: (1) Introduction to Module (2) Scientific Study of Politics
Week 2. Research Design: (1) Theory Building (2) Causal Relationships
Week 3. Research Design: (1) How to write a research paper (2) How to read critically
Week 4. Research Design: (1) Types of Research Design (2) Data measurement/variation
Week 5. Research Methods: (1) Surveys (2) Creating a Survey
Week 6. Research Methods: (1) Introduction to Experiments (2) Randomisation and Average Treatment Effects
Week 7. Research Methods: (1) Framing and bias (2) Survey Experiments
Week 8. Research Design and Methods: (1) Survey Experiments (2) Reporting Results
Week 9. Research Design and Methods: (1) Research Paper – Assignment 2 (2) Email Experiments
Week 10. Research Methods: (1) Natural Experiments
Week 11. Research Design: How to write discussion and conclusions
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
Teaching will be 2 hours of lectures per week. All will be recorded and posted on Blackboard. Lectures will be delivered either face to face or online only depending upon University and Public Health England Guidance at the time. Total of 24 hours of lectures (2 hours per week X 12 weeks) per module.
Weekly student participation in online discussion boards. 1 hour per week delivered asynchronously. (1 hour X 12 weeks)
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
Quentin Skinner. Visions of Politics (available electronically as ‘Regarding Method’). Man and Society, vol.1 (ch.5).
Reus-Smit and Snidal (2011). Overview of International Relations: Between Utopia and Reality, In: The Oxford Handbook of Political Science.
Daniel McDermott (edited by David Leopold, and Marc Stears) (2008). ‘Analytical Political Philosophy’ in Political Theory: Methods and Approaches. Oxford University Press USA.
Brown and Ainley (2009). Understanding International Relations (Chapter 3: International Relations Theory Today). Basingstoke: Palgrave.
Michael Freeden; Oxford Handbook edited by Freeden and Stears. ‘The Morphological Analysis of Ideology’ in The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies.
Short research paper must be passed for successful completion of the module
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
|Discussion board activity||25%|
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External