Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

PAIR1006 Political Systems (Quant)

Module Overview

The module serves as an introduction to the field of comparative politics in the discipline of comparative politics. It introduces students to the key concepts and theories in this field, such as types of political regimes, theories of democratisation, key democratic political institutions and theories of political participation and voting behaviour. The course will also introduce students to some of the most important large scale datasets used to measure key concepts and test prominent theories of comparative politics.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims


Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Identify and analyse the differences between democracies, semi-democracies, and authoritarian regimes.
  • Examine different typologies of transitions from authoritarianism to democracy and discuss the historical and global conditions that may determine the success of a transition.
  • Understand how states are constructed and the contemporary threats to their existence. Describe and compare how different political systems work, focusing on the institutions and actors involved in the political process.
  • Discuss citizen behaviour, voting and protest in a range of political systems.
  • To be able to use descriptive statistical methods, such as the representation of bivariate relationships through cross-tabulations and scatterplots, for the study of comparative politics.


This module provides an introduction to the study of politics and the key concepts and components of political systems. This module is organised as follows: First, we will identify the different types of political regime, and study the differences between political regimes around the world and the conditions for transitions from one regime to another. Second, we will look at the formation and dismantling of states from a variety of perspectives. Third, we will analyse a range of substantive issues for the field such as party systems, political ideologies, elections and referendums. Finally, we will consider citizens in democracies, addressing voter behaviour, declining turnout and political protest. It also introduces students to the use of descriptive quantitative methods for studying comparative politics.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

This module includes two one-hour lectures every week and bi-weekly tutorials in which students are able to discuss the key concepts and theories of comparative politics. During the module, each student will have two additional one-hour classes on the use of quantitative methods for studying comparative politics. The first class will take the format of a lecture providing the students with the overview of how univariate and bivariate descriptive methods can be used to examine political phenomena. The examples used in this lecture will be based on the concepts and theories addressed in the course. The second class, taking the format of a tutorial, will aim to support students with the use of quantitative methods for their data analysis assignment.

Completion of assessment task63
Preparation for scheduled sessions58
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Linz, Juan José (2000). Totalitarian and Authoritarian Regimes. 

Boix, Carles, and Susan C Stokes (2009). The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. 

Caramani, Daniele (2014). Comparative Politics. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Attendance 15%
Quizzes 25%
Research essay  (2000 words) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Research essay  (2500 words) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


Students will be required to buy one textbook with its price being up to £50. This is an additional cost to the student.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.