Accessibility statement

Political Research and Analysis


This module considers the nature, practice and philosophical underpinnings of political research and analysis. It aims to provide students who are just beginning their research projects with many of the conceptual tools necessary to develop a general idea or topic into an effective research design. The first section of the module examines some key issues in the philosophy of political analysis, particularly focusing on the nature of explanation, values and objectivity. The second section of the module focuses more narrowly on problems and strategies of research design such as methodology, reflective analysis and putting theory into practice.

Module Objectives

By the end of the module students should be able to:

  • Review the key debates on the nature, practice and philosophical underpinnings of political research and analysis;
  • Comprehend key philosophical concepts such as explanation, theory, values and interpretation;
  • Comprehend key research design concepts such as question formulation, case selection and quantitative, qualitative and normative research methods;
  • Evaluate methodological approaches in published research;
  • Formulate your own researchable questions and develop an appropriate research design;
  • Critically reflect on your own research design.‌


Module Assessment consists of one 4,000 work essay, which normally takes the form of a Research Proposal.

PhD students should consult the course tutor for guidance.

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Committee room table