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Module Code: POU33012

Module Name: Research Methods for Political Science B 2023-24

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 2
  • Contact Hours: 2 lectures per week; 1 weekly tutorial
  • Module Personnel: Dr Martyn Egan
  • Module Prerequisite: POU33011: Research Methods for Political Science A

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Understand and critically evaluate political and social science research from a methodological perspective.
  • Develop a research question and design and implement an effective plan of research to answer it.
  • Identify appropriate quantitative methods for the analysis of different kinds of data and different kinds of research question.
  • Correctly apply such methods, diagnose potential errors, and interpret their results.
  • Use the statistical programming language R to carry out quantitative research and effectively communicate outcomes.

Module Learning Aims

This module will provide students with the tools to both critique social scientific research and conduct their own original research into social and political phenomena. As well as offering a quantitative grounding for further academic advancement, the module will introduce students to data analysis skills which are increasingly in demand in the labour market. The module continues the introduction to statistics started in POU33011, and is the second step in the preparation for the dissertation in POU44000 Year Long Research Project in Political Science.

Module Content

This module explores a variety of both qualitative and quantitative social science research methods, with a particular focus on the logic of scientific inference, research design and measurement. Students will be introduced to the rules of data analysis, will learn how to perform multivariate regression on various types of data, and become confident and independent users of the statistical programming language R. Hands-on experience will be provided in forming and testing hypotheses, identifying and exploring causal mechanisms, and effectively communicating research findings. Alongside this, we will also explore the uses and abuses of statistical reasoning in social and political studies, with the aim of making students critical consumers of academic research.

Students are discouraged from taking this module only, as the course material in the second term builds on the issues discussed during the first term. Students who wish to register nonetheless are requested to contact the lecturer to discuss to what extent their prior training in methods and basic statistics is sufficient.

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Recommended Reading List

  • James, G., D. Witten, T. Hastie and R. Tibshirani, 2023. An introduction to statistical learning with applications in R. (available  here -  Chapters 1 to 4 are relevant to the module).
  • Huntington-Klein, N., 2023. The effect: An introduction to research design and causality. (available here

Assessment Details (TBC)

4 x short assignments and one group paper (2,000 words max): 40% total

1 x 90 minute examination: 60%

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