Accessibility statement

International and Comparative Research Methods - SPY00164M

« Back to module search

  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Daniel Horsfall
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2024-25
    • See module specification for other years: 2023-24

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module is designed to introduce you to international and comparative research methods. You will engage with qualitative, quantitative and mixed-method research methods whilst appreciating the strengths and weaknesses of key comparative methodological and epistemological approaches for social research. You will become familiar with established comparative social research studies in the field of industrial relations, social policy and management studies and acquire the skills to draw secondary evidence from a wide range of international and comparative evidence including selected datasets produced by international organisations such as the ILO and OECD.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be able to:

Reflect on major methodological approaches and debates in international and comparative social research

Understand and be able to apply appropriate research methods and techniques in a robust and coherent way.

Demonstrate critical awareness of the major established studies in comparative social research and the strengths and weaknesses of their methodologies.

Locate and critically reflect on the main methodological and paradigmatic approaches in comparative social research, and the methodological questions they address.

Evaluate a range of quantitative, qualitative and mixed-method comparative research techniques, and their suitability for addressing different research questions.


Task Length % of module mark
Individual report
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Individual report
N/A 100

Module feedback

Feedback will be given in accordance with the University Policy on feedback in the Guide to Assessment as well as in line with the School policy.

Indicative reading

Almond P, Gonzalez MC (2013) Cross-national comparative human resource management and the ideational sphere: A critical review. International Journal of Human Resource Management 25(18): 2591–2607.

Geddes, B. (2003) Paradigms and Sand Castles. Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Design. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Hantrais, L. (2009) International comparative research: theory, methods and practice, Palgrave Macmillan.

Hall P, Gingerich D (2009) Varieties of capitalism and institutional complementarities in the political economy: An empirical analysis. British Journal of Political Science 39(3): 449–482.

Jackson G, Deeg R (2008) Comparing capitalisms: Understanding institutional diversity and its implications for international business. Journal of International Business Studies, 39(4): 540–561.

Rihoux, B. and Ragin, C. C. (2009) (eds.) Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (Qca) and Related Techniques, Thousand Oaks: Sage

Wright. et al. (2021). Introduction: Internationally comparative approaches to studying employment relations. In International and Comparative Employment Relations. Global Crises and Institutional Responses. London: SAGE, pp. 1-27 (Chapter 1).

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.