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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: POLM009 Module Title: INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH
Module Provider: Politics Short Name: POL510
Level: M Module Co-ordinator: CAPELOS T Dr (Politics)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability
Semester 1
Assessment Pattern
Unit(s) of Assessment
Weighting Towards Module Mark
( %)
critique of a research article (1500 words)
proposal for a piece of research (3500 words)
Qualifying Condition(s) 
A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module.
Module Overview

This module will provide an introduction to the design and conduct of social science research. Throughout, examples will be drawn from recent research in the areas of politics and policy. However, emphasis will also be placed on the applicability of these methods to other subject areas across the social sciences.





Module Aims
This module aims to develop students’ understanding of the ways in which social research is designed and conducted. It will provide a broad overview of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research in the social sciences. In addition, it will develop students’ capacities to design research questions and select appropriate methods of data collection and analysis to enable them to answer their research questions.

The module will also encourage students to think critically about the ethical implications of their research design, and about how they will go about writing up their research. By drawing on this knowledge and understanding, the module also aims to enable students to evaluate critically the research of others.
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
Knowledge and understanding 
  • understand of processes of knowledge creation and contestation within the social sciences; 
  • identify different approaches to social research; 
  • understand techniques of research and enquiry and their application to the study of politics; 
  • critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of a range of methods of data collection and analysis (both qualitative and quantitative); 
  • demonstrate how one or more research methods can be used to answer specific research questions; 
  • identify and analyse the ethical implications of particular approaches to social research.
Cognitive skills 
  • critically analyse examples of both qualitative and quantitative research; 
  • formulate research questions appropriate to their area of interest; 
  • deal with complex issues systematically and creatively; and 
  • design a research project, selecting appropriate methods of data collection and analysis.
Practical skills 
  • form effective arguments 
  • formulate research questions 
  • design and conduct a research project, selecting appropriate methods of data collection and analysis
Transferable skills 
  • communicate and present ideas effectively 
  • reason critically 
  • organise and plan own work 
  • adopt a proactive approach to problem-solving 
  • make decisions in complex situations 
take responsibility for own learning
Module Content
  • Research questions: what they are, why they are important and how to go about formulating them. 
  • An overview of qualitative approaches to social research. This will include: the design of qualitative research; methods of collecting qualitative data (for example, individual interviews, focus groups, observations and documentary sources); and relevant analytical methods. 
  • An overview of quantitative approaches to social research. This will include: the design of quantitative research; methods of collecting quantitative data (for example, questionnaires, surveys and structured interviews); and relevant analytical methods. 
  • Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches. 
  • Ethical issues in social research. 
  • Reading and evaluating qualitative and quantitative research. 

Writing up research for different audiences

Methods of Teaching/Learning
Lectures and seminars
Depates and discussions
Selected Texts/Journals
Burnham, P., Gilland, K., Grant, W. and Layton-Henry, Z. (2004) Research Methods in Politics Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Bryman, A. (2004) Social Research Methods (second edition) Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Bryman, A. (1988) Quantity and Quality in Social Research London, Routledge.
Homan, R. (1991) The Ethics of Social Research Longman: London.
Mason, J. (2002) Qualitative Researching (second edition) London, Sage Publications.
May, T. (2001) Social Research. Issues, Methods and Process (third edition) Buckingham, Open University Press.
Punch, K. (2005) Introduction to Social Research. Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches (second edition) London, Sage Publications.
McKenzie, G., Powell, J. and Usher, R. (1997) Understanding Social Research. Perspectives on Methodology and Practice London, Falmer Press.
Silverman, D. (2004) Doing Qualitative Research. A Practical Handbook (second edition) London, Sage Publications.
Yin, R. (1994) Case Study Research. Design and Methods (second edition) London, Sage Publications.
Last Updated

1 July 2010