Introduction to Political Science - PO326

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
Canterbury Autumn
View Timetable
4 15 (7.5) DR EG Larsen







This core module introduces students to the wide range of different methodologies commonly employed in political science. This includes the scientific method and both traditional and newer forms of research. Students will also be introduced to some of the fields of inquiry that dominate the study of politics, including public choice, social movements, political behaviour, economic development and democracy. The module integrates these two main components to create both an awareness of the breadth of political science and its approaches, ultimately providing students with the foundation for further study in political science. Substantive topics include: the nature of inquiry (questioning and determining what constitutes evidence), methods of comparison, theory and hypotheses. They will also be introduced to and explore quantitative methods, formal methods, experimental methods and empirical quantitative methods. Students will implement basic quantitative research techniques for themselves. Finally, they will be introduced to concepts such as equivalence, selection bias, spuriousness, value bias and ecological and individualist fallacy in order to illuminate the difficulties faced when making comparisons.


This module appears in:

Contact hours

1 hour lecture and 1 hour seminar per week (not including reading week), plus an additional hour long seminar every two weeks

Method of assessment

100% Coursework (5 online quizzes (4% each, 20% total), Research reports (2 reports worth 80% total; first is 1000 words worth 32%, second is 2000 words worth 48%))

Indicative reading


See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will
- Be able to understand the different approaches used in the study of Politics
- Be able to understand the basic logic of the research process
- Be familiar with several themes central to political research
- Have improved their ability to identify and use evidence, including basic statistical techniques
- Be able to choose among a wide range of approaches to develop their own methods to explore substantive research questions in the fields of politics and international relations.

University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that module information is accurate for the relevant academic session and to provide educational services as described. However, courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Please read our full disclaimer.