Political Research and Analysis - POLI6870

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 5 30 (15) Robert De Vries checkmark-circle


Research methods are – together with theoretical frameworks and empirical material – one of the three main pillars of the study of politics and international relations. Politics and international relations are methodologically very diverse and apply a number of different approaches that can be summarised under the quantitative and qualitative research methodologies. The module provides a basic introduction to the use of these methods for students from a variety of educational backgrounds (no statistical knowledge is necessary). The module aims to enable students to read, interpret and critically assess arguments and data drawing on quantitative and qualitative methods in political science and international relations. Students will be introduced to the logic of empirical research in the social sciences, to basic concepts and techniques of descriptive and inferential uni-, bi- and multivariate statistics, as well as qualitative comparative studies and interpretive approaches. Students will be able to apply their methods skills to empirical evidence commonly found in policy and academic work.


Contact hours

Private Study: 256
Contact Hours: 44
Total: 300


Compulsory to the following courses:
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations (Bidiplôme)
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Placement Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Foundation Year
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Continental Europe or North America
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Language
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with a Year in Asia-Pacific
• BA (Hons) Politics and International Relations with Quantitative Research
• BA (Hons) Economics and Politics
• BA (Hons) History and Politics
• BA (Hons) Philosophy and Politics
• BA (Hons) Sociology and Politics
• LLB (Hons) Law and Politics

Also available as an elective module

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods
3 Moodle quizzes (3x5%) 15%
Presentation 15%
Quantitative Project (2,000 words) 35%
Qualitative Project (2,000 words) 35%

Reassessment methods
100% coursework

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.

The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages.

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Understand the importance of quantitative and qualitative research methods for the cumulative growth of knowledge in the political and social sciences
2 Understand the basic logic of the empirical research process
3 Be familiar with key methodological and statistical concepts relevant to quantitative and qualitative data analysis
4 Have improved their ability to critically evaluate arguments supported by quantitative and qualitative work
5 Select and evaluate methodological approaches appropriate to explore substantive research questions in the fields of politics and international relations
6 Have developed a basic ability to enter, code, manipulate, and examine data sets with R
7 Formulate and test simple hypotheses using both a quantitative (bivariate and multivariate designs), and understand interpretive and normative approaches in qualitative research.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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