Fact, Evidence, Knowledge and Power - POLI6610

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


This course builds on students' knowledge of the approaches and methods used in the study of politics and international relations introduced in the first year of the degree program and the foundation in the analysis of quantitative data established in the second year. Students will be asked to consider the nature and purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations. Students will develop skills in choosing, using and evaluating the research designs, and techniques for the collection and analyses of data used by researchers in these fields. Emphasis in the course will be placed on a mixed methods approach to political analysis that enables student to integrate, analyse and evaluate both qualitative and quantitative data. In addition to developing a conceptual and theoretical understanding of different approaches to evidence gathering and analyses and how they can be combined, students will also have the opportunity to extend their skills in practical data analyses.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 22
Private study hours: 128
Total study hours: 150


Politics undergraduate courses (see subject requirements for availability)

Method of assessment

Moodle quizzes x3 (15%)
Project, 3000 words (85%)

Reassessment methods: 100% coursework

Indicative reading

Reading list (Indicative list, current at time of publication. Reading lists will be published annually)

Van Evera, S. (1997). Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Cornell University Press.

King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton University Press.

Brady, H. E., & Collier, D. (Eds.). (2010). Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. Rowman & Littlefield Publisher

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge of the purposes of descriptive and causal analysis in politics and international relations

2. Demonstrate knowledge of the main research designs used in politics and international relations and the ability to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses as they are employed to investigate substantive questions of interest

3. Demonstrate knowledge of some of the main ways that researchers collect and analyse data in politics and international relations

4. Demonstrate some of the skills in data collection and analysis used by researchers in politics and international relations

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1. undertake analysis of complex, incomplete or contradictory areas of knowledge and make carefully constructed arguments and advocate solutions to problems

2. be reflective and self-critical in their work

3. communicate ideas effectively and fluently in writing

4. use the internet, bibliographic search engines and online resources, and effectively conduct research, drawing on both primary and secondary sources

5. engage in academic and professional communication with others

6. learn independently as required for further study or professional work


  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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