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Political Research Methods




Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: a similarly-tagged 100-level course, or permission from the instructor.

Course description

The main objective of this course is to introduce students to the relationship between the theories and methods used to study Politics, and to explore how the notion of methodology fits into this relationship. In short, this course will provide you with a basic knowledge of research methods in order for you to understand epistemological and ontological concerns scholars have, and to appreciate different methodological factions that developed in Politics. It also familiarises you with practical skills, such as research design, data collection and analysis, and with research ethic to allow you to conduct research projects and also to read and evaluate research papers critically.

This course is loosely based on book project that I am currently working on titled: Theories and Methods in International Relations (IR). You will all discover throughout the course that a lot of the IR scholarship is located in the discipline of Political Science and Social Science, thus those of you who have not studied IR will be able to follow and enjoy this course.

Learning aims

  • To explore the relationship between theories and methods, and key concepts relating to both;

  • To enable students to think critically about methodological distinctions and their relevance for research related to studying Politics;

  • To explore the relevance of different theoretical and methodological approaches to specific research questions and practices of research;

  • To help students to develop research skills to conduct and to be able to evaluate evidence-based arguments and methodologically sound studies.

Compulsory literature

David Marsh and Gerry Stoker (2010) Theory and Methods in Political Science (Political Analysis), Basingstoke: Palgrave

Tim Dunne, Milja Kurki and Steven Smith (2013) International Relations Theories. Discipline and Diversity, Oxford: Oxford University Press