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Year Long Research Project (Capstone / Dissertation)

Module Code: POU44000

Module Name: Year Long Research Project (Capstone / Dissertation) 2019-20

  • ECTS Weighting: 20
  • Semester/Term Taught: Semester 1 and 2
  • Contact Hours: 2 hour seminars weekly
  • Module Personnel: Lecturer - Dr Jesse Dillon Savage, Various Instructors
  • Pre-Requisite: PO3110 and PO3111 or equivalent
  • Office hours: (TBC)

PLEASE NOTE: Students who elect this module must submit Capstone Theme Choice Form, available here, by April 12th. Please note, if Capstone Theme Choice form is not submitted on time, you will be not permitted to take this module.

Learning Outcomes

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

  • Execute a demanding political science research project;
  • Collaborate with peers and act in leadership roles;
  • Constructively evaluate and the work of others;
  • Synthesise and evaluate a variety of research methods, sources, findings and analysis.
  • Critically analyse of an area of political science through independent research;
  • Effectively communicate research findings.

Module Learning Aims, Module Content, and Methods of Teaching and Student Learning

Details of the Capstone research project are set out in detail in the “Capstone 2019-20 Document”, available here. All students are invited to read this document when making this module choice and submit Capstone Theme Choice Form, available here. Please note, you must submit your Capstone Theme Choice Form to polsci at by April 12th 2019. Please note, if you do not submit your Capstone Theme Choice form on time, you will be not permitted to enrol in this module.

Five Political Science Capstone Themes may be on offer in 2019-20:

(1)  Irish Politics (Liam Kneafsey)

(2)  Forecasting Conflict (Quantitative Theme – Thomas Chadefaux)

(3)  Great Powers in International Politics (Jesse Dillon-Savage)

(4)  Media Politics (Liam Kneafsey)

(5)  Political Violence (Liam Kneafsey)

More information on each of these themes is set out in the Capstone Document linked above.

If you have questions please contact Jesse Dillon-Savage, the Capstone coordinator, on

PLEASE NOTE: Students choosing a Capstone project in 2019-20 must BOTH complete a Module Choice form in the usual way, AND complete a Capstone Theme Choice form to return to the Political Science department on by the same date.


Assessment Details

Research projects, written assignments, poster sessions, participation in class will be assessed by the Theme instructor, in coordination with the Departmental Capstone coordinator, and subject to moderation by the Political Science Department and the External Examiner.  Materials may be sent for review to an external examiner. In exceptional cases, an oral examination of the candidate may be required by the examiner(s).

Capstone research projects will be expected to include basic features of research in political science, such as defining a research question in terms of a “variation to be explained”, an assessment of previous scholarship, the elaboration of an explanation, an empirical test, and the drawing of conclusions from the project.

If different / more specific grading criteria are appropriate for a particular Capstone theme, (for example, there is a greater focus on historical research, or computer programming, or a political theory topic) these will be made clear to students at the start of the academic year.

The research projects will also be assessed on how well-written, well-structured and well-presented the research project is.

Overall standards for the assessment of student’s work are set out in the Political Science Department Handbook.

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