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Research Design - POL00060I

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  • Department: Politics
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Thalia Gerzso
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: I
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module summary

Research Design engages students with different ways to conduct empirical research into political phenomena. The module introduces students to qualitative and quantitative research tools so that students can analyse empirical research and come up with appropriate research designs to conduct their own research.

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

  1. Encourage students to think critically about the claims and arguments that are made about political phenomena within academia and beyond.

  2. Develop students’ awareness of the processes involved in generating new knowledge and making arguments within the study of political phenomena; in other words, students will understand how research about political phenomena can be done. Students will become critical consumers of empirical research about political phenomena.

  3. Prepare students to conduct independent research, including potentially for their dissertation, by engaging them with ideas about qualitative and quantitative research designs to answer research questions about political phenomena.

  4. Develop students’ confidence and independence as researchers of political phenomena, both within the undergraduate degree and beyond (i.e., in further study or future employment). Through helping students to research more independently the module promotes skills that students can draw on when conducting their dissertations.

Module learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of debates surrounding the application of social science research methods when conducting research into political phenomena, including their benefits and limitations (PLO 1).

  • Engage with qualitative and quantitative research tools and techniques and use critical reasoning to evaluate their strengths and weaknesses (PLO 2).

  • Be able to form research questions with minimum guidance and come up with appropriate research designs to study them (including identifying appropriate methods and data) (PLO 3).

  • Work with minimum guidance to design research that is feasible within defined limits and through the setting of clear goals and objectives (PLO4)


Task Length % of module mark
Research Proposal
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Research Proposal
N/A 100

Module feedback

Students will receive written timely feedback on their formative assessment. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s feedback and guidance hours.

Students will receive written feedback on their summative assessment no later than 25 working days; and the module tutor will hold a specific session to discuss feedback, which students can also opt to attend. They will also have the opportunity to discuss their feedback during the module tutor’s regular feedback and guidance hours.

Indicative reading

Rocking Qualitative Social Science (2021), Ashley Rubin.

The Fundamentals of Political Science Research (2013), Paul Kellstedt et al.

Quantitative Social Science: An Introduction (2018), Kosuke Imai.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.