Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Political, Social and Historical Research: Philosophy, Methods and Application
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminar 11 x 2 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 Seminar Presentation  (accompanied by a one-page summary of the presentation)  10%
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,500 word bibliographical essay  30%
Semester Assessment 1 x 3,500 word review essay  60%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Demonstrate, through a 3000-word review essay, an ability to subject a book-length research monograph to critical scrutiny, in particular, (1) to identify, with precision, the central question(s) it addresses, (2) to give a relevantly detailed summary of its main argument, (3) evaluate the quality of the argument that produces the conclusions, and (4) to discuss the implications of the conclusions reached.
2. Communicate the above ability in a preliminary manner also by a 15-minute oral seminar presentation, accompanied by an appropriate handout, and through discussions in the subsequent Q and A session.
3. Demonstrate, through a 1500-word bibliographical essay, an ability to summarise succinctly the broad strands of literature that relate to the student's research topic or an ability to assess the relative importance of the work to be reviewed in a more general context of the body of literature to which the work belongs. (See further the guidelines on the bibliographical essay below.)
4. Demonstrate an understanding of the similarities and differences between different kinds of research conducted in the subfields of study encompassed by the Department of International Politics in the light of an explicitly argued-for theory of knowledge; explain the character of the work reviewed within the (theory-of-knowledge) framework adopted; and compare this to the character of the students' own projects.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the variety of research methods employed in the fields of study encompassed by the Department of International Politics and of their relevance to the range of research questions that arise in the fields.
6. Demonstrate an understanding of the variety of presentational structures (chapter divisions, charts, tables, notes and references) and the range of ways of writing (analytic, academic, personal, etc.) that a research monograph may take and justify the intended choice

Brief description

The aim of this course is to familiarise students with the process of conducting advanced research in political science and international relations. The course picks up many of the themes covered in the generic research-training programme and addresses them from a political science perspective. It is intended to give students the necessary tools to competently understand empirical political research, as well proving a sophisticated set of research skills necessary in order to complete graduate-level research. It is designed to provide a thorough advanced education in the application, appreciation and understanding of a range of research methods relating to political phenomena. It covers both quantitative and qualitative perspectives and emphasises the necessity of both forms of analysis.


- To introduce students to the different approaches to the study of political phenomena.
- To familiarize students with the basic assumptions, concepts, and questions of empirical political science.
- To examine the processes involved in designing empirical research and in collecting and analysing qualitative and quantitative data.
- To learn how to evaluate social science research.
- To encourage logical and critical thinking about political institutions and behaviours.


The Module covers the leading theoretical approaches to the study of political phenomena; methods of quantitative data collection; methods of qualitative data collection; methods of quantitative data analysis; methods of qualitative data analysis.

Transferable skills

- a sophisticated set of research skills
- quantitative and qualitative data collection skills
- quantitative and qualitative data analysis skills
- a wide range of social research methods.


This module is at CQFW Level 7