Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Political Data Analysis (PLIT08009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryIntroduction to Political Data Analysis (IPDA) introduces students to political data analysis using both domestic and international data. It teaches students the distinctions between aggregate and individual data, as well as the different ways that variables are measured within data. Relatedly, the course teaches students how to access relevant data, assess its strengths and weaknesses, and process it. At a more abstract level, it also covers concepts such as causality and inference, and teaches students how to formulate and test hypotheses. In aid of the latter, much of the course focuses on teaching students how to conduct quantitative data analysis using various statistical techniques. These include descriptive statistics, cross tabulation with measures of association, t-tests and ANOVAs, and correlation and regression. The course demonstrates how using different types of quantitative data and techniques can help us to answer the types of questions typically posed by empirical Politics and International Relations scholars. Lectures will be accompanied by weekly tutorials in which students will learn how to apply the concepts and techniques using Stata.
Course description Week 1: Introduction to Political Data Analysis Week 2: Descriptive Statistics Week 3: Data and Visualisation

Week 4: Causality and Inference Week 5: Hypothesis Testing and Measures of Association Week 6: T-tests and ANOVAs Week 7: Correlation and Regression Week 8: Multivariate Regression

Week 9: Logistic Regression Week 10: Extensions and Conclusions
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students on "with QM" degree programmes should not select this course in year 2
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  252
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 167 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A mix of
-One short assignment (15%)
-Essay involving application of data analysis (45%)
-Timed assignment (40%)

Feedback Assignment 1 is designed in part to evaluate whether students can find data and summarise it visually but it is also intended as a stepping stone to the research paper. The feedback they receive in this assignment will help them develop their essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. formulate a research question and hypotheses, identify relevant concepts and variables
  2. access, and assess the quality of, data typically used in Politics and International Relations
  3. apply essential quantitative data analysis skills linked to core topics of Politics and IR
  4. discuss the results of their data analysis as well as present quantitative findings in text, tables and graphs or charts
  5. analyse data using NESSTAR, as well as input and analyse data using Stata
Reading List
* AF Sections 1.1 ¿ 1.5

Kellstedt, Paul, and Guy Whitten. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge University Press, 2013. (Chapters 1-5)

Johnson, Janet Buttolph, and H. T. Reynolds. Political Science Research Methods. CQ Press, 2012. Chapters (1-5)

Essential Textbooks:

Any of the textbooks in this section will be able to help you understand the concepts and statistical techniques that we cover on Introduction to Political Data Analysis (IPDA):

- The Acock textbook is particularly helpful because it introduces the concepts and techniques, as well as how to implement the latter in Stata.

- The Field textbook provides an alternative and highly accessible overview of the concepts and techniques that we use but illustrates how to implement the latter in SPSS, which we do not use on IPDA.

- Finally, the Whittier, Wildhagen, and Gold textbook also covers the concepts and techniques that we use, and how to implement the latter in both Stata and SPSS.

Given that all three textbooks cover the concepts and techniques that we deal with on IPDA, we recommend that you look at each of them and use the one that you find most helpful. All three are available online via the University of Edinburgh Library website so you can also use each textbook to supplement the others if you need to do more reading to help you understand a particular concept or technique.

- Acock, Alan A (2016), A Gentle Introduction to Stata (College Station, TX, Stata Press)

- Field, Andy (2017), Discovering Statistics Using IBM SPSS (London, Sage)

- Whittier, Nancy, Wildhagen, Tina, and Gold, Howard J. (2019), Statistics for Social Understanding: With Stata and SPSS (Blue Ridge Summit, PA, Rowman & Littlfield)

Recommended Textbooks:

The textbooks listed in this section provide a useful complement to the essential textbooks, and can be used to read around any concept or technique that you wish to understand further or are struggling to grasp based on the essential textbooks.

It is worth noting that the Kellstedt and Whitten textbook is a classic text of political science research methods, so you may want to have a look at it to see if you find it helpful.

- Albers, Michael J. (2017), Introduction to Quantitative Data Analysis in the Behavioral and Social Sciences (Hoboken, NJ, John Wiley & Sons)

- Johnson, Janet Buttolph, Reynolds, H. T., and Mycoff, Jason D. (2019), Political Sciecne Research Methods (Washington, D.C., CQ Press)

- Kellstedt, Paul M., and Whitten, Guy D. (2018), The Fundamentals of Political Science Research (Cambridge, Cambridge University Press)

- Mehmetoglu, Mehmet, and Jakobsen, Tor Georg (2022), Applied Statistics Using Stata: A Guide for the Social Sciences (London, Sage)

- Salkind, Neil J. (2019), Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics (Thousand Oaks, CA, Sage)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Joe Greenwood-Hau
Tel: (01316) 517112
Course secretaryMs Agata Lebiedzinska
Tel: (01316) 515197
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information