Introduction to Political Science - POLI3260

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2022 to 2023.


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.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 27

Private study hours: 123

Total study hours: 150

Method of assessment

* Moodle Quizzes x5 (4% each, 20% overall)
* Research Report 1, 1000 words (32%)
* Research Report 2, 2000 words (48%)

Reassessment Instrument: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

* Halperin, Sandra and Oliver Heath. 2012. Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills. New York: Oxford University Press.

* Blastland, Michael and Andrew Dilnot. 2007. The Tiger That Isn't: Seeing through a world of numbers. Profile Books.

* King, Gary. Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton University Press.

* Marsh, David and Gerry Stoker.1995. Theory and Methods in Political Science Palgrave Macmillan.

* Moses, Jonathon and Torbjørn Knutsen. 2007. Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research: Competing Methodologies and Methods in Social and Political Research, Palgrave Macmillan.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. understand the different approaches used in the study of Politics

2. understand the basic logic of the research process

3. be familiar with several themes central to political research

4. have improved their ability to identify and use evidence, including basic statistical techniques

5. 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


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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