Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Undergraduate > Module Outlines

Public Opinion

Module Code: POU33111

Module Name: Public Opinion 2019-20

  • ECTS Weighting: 5
  • Semester/Term Taught: Term 1
  • Contact Hours: 2 one-hour lectures per week; 1 tutorial per fortnight
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Noah Buckley

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Explain and discuss major issues in public opinion research.
  2. Discuss and formulate hypotheses about the individual level factors affecting opinion formation.
  3. Describe the contextual factors shaping citizen attitudes.
  4. Evaluate the role of media and elites in opinion change.
  5. Discuss the consequences of citizen competence for democratic politics.


Module Learning Aims

The module examines public opinion and political behaviour from a comparative perspective. Students will learn about the key issues in defining and measuring public opinion, understand the foundations of public opinion and political participation, become familiar with the contemporary debates in public opinion and political behaviour research, and be able to discuss current issues concerning mass attitudes and behaviour with reference to the major theoretical approaches in the field.

Module Content

Defining and measuring public opinion, issues in public opinion research, citizen competence, self-interest, partisanship and group attachments, values and beliefs, contextual influences on public opinion, media and elite influences on public opinion.

Back to top

Recommended Reading List

1)  Asher, Herbert. 2011. Polling and the Public: What Every Citizen Should Know. CQ Press, 8th edition.

2)  Clawson, Rosalee A., and Zoe M. Oxley. 2012. Public Opinion: Democratic Ideals, Democratic Practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press, 2nd edition.

3) Dalton, R. J. (2013). Citizen politics: Public opinion and political parties in advanced industrial democracies. Cq Press. [6th edition].

Assessment Details (TBC):

One Essay weighted 25% of overall grade.

One 90 minute exam weighted 75% of overall grade.

Back to top