Module Identifier IP30520  
Academic Year 2003/2004  
Co-ordinator Dr Roger M Scully  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Lecture   14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   7 Hours (7 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  60%
Semester Assessment Essay: 1 x 3,000 words  40%
Supplementary Exam Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics. 

Learning outcomes

On completion of the modules, students will be able to:

- Describe and analyse the historical development of a variety of different parliamentary bodies
- Critically assess the relevance of alternative understandings of ''democracy'' and ''representation'' to the functioning of parliamentary democracy
- Critically discuss the performance of major parliamentary institutions in the UK and overseas
- Review and assess leading perspectives on the factors shaping the behaviour of political representatives

Brief description

This module examines the centrality of Parliaments to the practice of representation and the exercise of political authority in modern democratic polities.


This module aims to develop student awareness of the evolving role of parliaments within modern democratic politics. It does so by examining the historical roots of parliamentary institutions; reviewing the central place of parliaments within theories of representative democracy; considering the factors shaping the behaviour of individual parliamentarians; and challenging students to assess the role of parliaments in promoting political continuity and/or change.


After introducing the defining characteristics of parliaments, the module examines the roots of parliamentary institutions within notions of democracy and political representation. It then explores how such notions have been manifest in the development of different parliamentary bodies (including Westminster, the European Parliament, and the devolved chambers in Scotland and Wales). The module then examines the election and internal organisation of parliamentary chambers, and how these shape the behaviour of individual representatives. Finally, the role of parliamentary institutions in shaping and resisting political reform is addressed.

Transferable skills

Students will have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of transferable skills that will help them to understand, conceptualise and evaluate examples and ideas. Throughout the course, students should practice and enhance their reading, comprehension and thinking skills, as well as basic numeracy and self-management skills. In lectures, students will develop listening and note taking skills, as well as analytical skills. In seminars students will enhance their analytical skills and will practice listening, explaining and debating skills, as well as engaging in team-work and problem solving. Essay writing will require students to practice independent research, writing and IT skills, and the examination will test these skills under time constraint conditions.

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
P Silk How Parliament Works
G Copeland & S Patterson Parliaments in the Modern World


This module is at CQFW Level 6