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The University of Southampton

PAIR2004 Qualitative Research in Politics & International Relations

Module Overview

This module will introduce students to the practice of qualitative research in politics and international relations. Students will learn and apply key skills involved in gathering and analysing qualitative data, and reflect on the strengths and limitations of different approaches.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Apply practical skills in gathering qualitative data
  • Apply practical skills in analysing qualitative data
  • Reflect on the strengths and limitations of different approaches to research in politics


Indicative lecture topics: • Questions of ontology and epistemology • Designing research questions • Interviews • Case studies / comparative method • Document / discourse analysis • Participant observation

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)

Independent Study114
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

John Boswell, Jack Corbett, R.A.W. Rhodes (2019). The Art and Craft of Comparison. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Discussion board activity 25%
Research project 50%
Research proposal 25%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual research report  (4000 words) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Individual research report  ( 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:


Recommended texts for this module may be available in limited supply in the University Library and students may wish to purchase reading texts as appropriate.

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

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