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Surveying Political Research


  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 4
  • Tutor: to be confirmed
  • Assessment: a 1000-word article review (45%), 1000-word historical review (45%) and four online quizzes (10%)

Module description

What does it mean to do research in the fields of politics and international relations? Each week, a Department of Politics staff member will introduce a topic from their own research and explain its background and context. You will see how some of the great thinkers of the past have left their mark on political research, but also learn how the field has moved on with new techniques and changing questions. Lecturers will discuss how they see the relationship between politics, contemporary history and journalism, as well as the disciplinary overlaps and boundaries with sociology and economics.

This module provides a gentle introduction to thinking about the production of knowledge and research methods, which will help you to understand the context of your specialised Level 6 studies and to formulate your own ideas for your dissertation, if you choose this option.

Indicative module content

  • Liberalism and neoliberalism
  • Populations as units of analysis
  • Seeing courts as political actors
  • The exercise of power by political leaders
  • Ways of looking at the European Union
  • Bringing feminism to the study of political representation
  • Marxist analysis of resource conflicts
  • Competing ideas of what political economy is
  • Violence and its relationships to political power
  • The relationship between markets and morals
  • Biology and politics
  • 'The people': populism and representation

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • survey a topical area of research and identify its historical influences and/or disciplinary characteristics
  • analyse and compare academic articles in politics or international relations in terms of their methodological features.