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Research Methods in Political Science



This course is an introduction to the theory and practice of social scientific research, specifically in political science. Students become familiar with the core concepts and basic principles of political science research. Among the topics covered in this course are what constitutes a good scientific theory and empirical reasoning, the development of testable and verifiable research questions, and the operationalization and measurement of key concepts and terms. The advantages and weaknesses of common quantitative and qualitative approaches and techniques for data collection are discussed in terms of their validity and reliability.

Course Objectives
Objective 1: At the end of the course, students are able to describe and define scientific knowledge, scientific theories, conceptualization, operationalization, and measurement.
Objective 2: At the end of the course, students are able to describe and define common research designs, case selection and sampling methods, and methods of data collection.
Objective 3: At the end of the course, students can assess the advantages and disadvantages of different research designs and methods of data collection in terms validity, reliability, and appropriateness for the research goal.

Mode of Instruction


Study material

Sandra Halperin & Oliver Heath. 2020. Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Additional literature will be available via Brightspace.

Assessment Method

Participation in weekly short assignments (online quizzes), counting 10% toward the final course grade (with no opportunity to retake missed assignments).
A final exam at the end of the course will cover material from the literature and the lectures, counting 90% toward the final course grade. The final exam grade will be based on multiple choice questions (70%) and short open questions (30%). There will be an opportunity to retake the final exam.
Additional details about the assignments and the final exam will be announced later.

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


See 'Practical Information'

Timetable courses and exams

See 'MyTimetable'