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Doing Political Research

Overview

  • Credit value: 30 credits at Level 6
  • Convenor and tutor: Laura Richards-Gray
  • Assessment: a 1500-word essay (45%), 2500-3000-word independent research project (45%) and two online quizzes (10%)

Module description

This module will develop your critical analysis skills, as well as your independent research and writing skills.

The first half of the module will develop your critical approach to the evaluation of existing political research. It will begin by introducing you to a range of different philosophical approaches to political research and encourage you to explore what your own approach to political science research might be. It will also introduce you to common connections between different approaches and methodological choices, develop your awareness of the role of theory in political research and encourage you to explore the contested nature of political concepts. The second half of the module will train you in independent study skills to prepare you for the dissertation option or for postgraduate study. There will be guidance on planning and conducting research and a significant emphasis on developing your critical reading, academic writing and argumentation skills.

Indicative module syllabus

  • Approaches to political research
  • Methodological choices
  • The role of theory
  • The contested nature of political concepts
  • Case study approaches
  • Planning research
  • Finding and evaluating sources
  • Reading critically
  • Critical writing skills
  • Developing an argument

Learning objectives

By the end of this module, you will:

  • be familiar with different research philosophies and approaches
  • be aware of your own research philosophy
  • be able to critically engage with existing political science research
  • be able to undertake your own independent research
  • have developed your academic writing and argumentation skills.