Module Details for the Academic Year 2018/2019

POL10170 Foundations in Political Research

Most courses you will take in your undergraduate studies relate to politics itself—about politics in different regions, or about particular aspects of political systems. This course, however, is about political science, about doing research on politics and in the social sciences more generally. How do we design our research? How do we collect data? How do we draw valid conclusions from these data? While the focus in many other modules will be on knowledge of theories and knowledge of political systems, as well as basic analytical and critical skills, this module will provide you with very relevant practical skills and increased analytical skills that will benefit you throughout your career, both academically and professionally.

While there will be a more in-depth exploration of survey research methods and the visual inspection of survey results, this merely functions as an example to the core components of the course. Other topics will include practical and ethical considerations of political research; general types of research design; core elements of any research design; brief overview of the main methods in use in political science today. Special attention will be paid to writing and reading political science research.

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On completion of this module you should:
• Be familiar with core terminology (jargon) in political science research;
• Understand the underlying principles of good research design in politics;
• Have a basic understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of a number of methodological approaches;
• Be able to critically evaluate the empirical basis of findings in published research;
• Be able to produce and interpret statistical visualisations;
• Appreciate the practicalities of ethics and dissemination in politics research. 
Item Workload


Autonomous Student Learning




Description % of Final Grade Timing
Continuous Assessment: Report on data analysis


Week 10
Multiple Choice Questionnaire: MCQ exam


2 hour End of Trimester Exam


This module is not passable by compensation

Resit Opportunities

In-semester assessment


If you fail this module and the module is on offer the following semester, you must repeat the module. You should register for repeating the module at the start of the following semester. If the module is NOT running in the following semester then there will be a resit available in the form of a 2 hour end of semester exam and a mid-semester assignment, similar to the assessment structure of the regular course.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles

Equivalent Modules

Prior Learning

Curricular information is subject to change