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Prospectus

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Introduction to Political Science

Course
2021-2022

Description

The course builds on the introductory courses already offered in the first year. It provides a general but systematic overview of the most important theoretical approaches, research areas, research designs and research methods used in political science.
Some important questions are: what is politics? What is political science? What do political scientists do? What is a theory and what is it good for? What is the difference between normative and empirical theory? What are some of the main empirical theoretical approaches (including behaviouralist, (neo-)institutionalist, rational choice, constructivist, feminist, and Marxists) used by political scientists? What are the strengths and weakness of these theoretical approaches? What are important considerations when it comes to the different research designs and research methods used for answering theoretically informed questions about politics? What is the relevance of political science?
The course also includes academic skills working groups that focus on improving students’ ability to critically analyse political science research, and on understanding how studies undertaken on the same topic but using different theoretical and methodological approaches can be placed in dialogue with one another. The discussion and assessment of these different approaches to political science research during the working groups will aid in deepening students’ understanding and knowledge of these topics.

Course objectives

1. To provide a general and systematic overview of the most important theoretical approaches, research designs, and methods in political science.
2. To develop students’ ability to contrast, apply and evaluate the most important theoretical approaches, research designs, and methods in political science
3. To improve students’ ability to critically analyse multiple texts, placing them in dialogue with one another.

Methods of Instruction

Lectures and working groups

Study Material Lectures

Books to be announced at least two weeks prior to the start of the course.
A selection of journal articles and/or book chapters, available from the digital library of the University (listed in the syllabus which will be posted on Brightspace prior to the start of the course).

Study Materials Working Groups

A selection of journal articles and/or book chapters, available from the digital library of the University (listed in the syllabus which will be posted on Brightspace prior to the start of the course).

Assessment Methods

60% final exam (all open questions)
40% work group assignments and participation
The final grade for the work groups is the weighted average of two assignments (each counting for 40% of the grade) and a participation grade (counting for 20% of the grade).

The time and location of inspection and debriefing of the final exam will be announced via Brightspace no later than the publication of the grades.

Registration

See tab 'Practical Information'.

Timetable - courses and exams

Timetable