Module Identifier IP39420  
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   8 Hours (2 x 1 hour per week)  
  Seminars / Tutorials   7 Hours (1 x 1 hour Seminars/SPSS Workshops per week)  
  Lecture   14 Hours (14 x 1 hour)  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam2 Hours  50%
Semester Assessment Group Survey Design Project  25%
Semester Assessment Data Analysis Report  25%
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

Completion of this module should equip students with:

- a detailed and critical knowledge of the history of contemporary British electoral politics
- a detailed and critical knowledge of the major approaches to the study of elections
- a basic working knowledge of how to conduct opinion surveys and focus groups
- a basic working knowledge of how to handle quantitative data using SPSS

Brief description

This module will introduce students to the main elements of electoral politics, and examine how elections are studied.


Elections are fun. They are also, however, highly important political events in representative democracies. Elections provide the most regular mechanism for the general public to influence politics, and they play a central role in the allocation of political power. The main aims of this module are:

- the examine the major features of electoral politics: why elections matter, and how they are won and lost
- to review how scholars have approached the study of elections
- to introduce students to some of the major tools of electoral analysis, including the conduct of surveys and focus-groups, and the handling of quantitative and qualitative data.


The module will first cover the history of modern electoral politics in the United Kingdom, before going on to examine major 'macro' influences on election outcomes, such as electoral systems. The focus will then shift to examining 'individual-level' understandings of elections, by exploring the formation of public opinion and theories of individual voting behaviour. Finally, students will be introduced to the practical tools of election analysis, such as large-N option surveys, small-N focus groups, and how to analyse data using the computer programme SPSS.

Transferable skills

Completion of the module should enable students to develop the following transferable skills:

- written and oral communication
- group work
- project management
- IT skills
- analytical thinking
- independent research skills
- understanding of quantitive information

10 ECTS credits

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
David Denver Elections and voting behaviour in Britain
Paul Webb The Modern British Party System


This module is at CQFW Level 6