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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Research Design in Politics and International Relations (PLIT10106)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryResearch Design in Politics and International Relations will equip students with the skills necessary to understand, critically assess and undertake the research design process relevant to their PIR degree. Students will gain a good grasp of the behavioural assumptions in social science research, knowledge of a range of data collection methods (and how to assess the appropriateness of each), as well as the steps within a successful research project design. More specifically students will learn how to choose a topic, formulate a research question and hypotheses, select cases, navigate measurement issues, and undertake a range of data collection methods.
Course description The course will cover research design issues, including methodology and methods, for those addressing both empirical and more normative topics around Politics and International Relations

The course builds on courses offered in second year - Introduction to Political Data Analysis (IPDA) and Comparative Politics, which concentrate on methods of analysing evidence. This course focuses on how to structure your research project and how to collect your own evidence in response to your own research question. Beyond that it covers a range of issues which will be of use to political researchers: writing literature reviews, evaluating methodological choices, and ethical issues around political research.

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Introduction to Politics and International Relations (PLIT08004) OR Politics in a Changing World: An Introduction for non-specialists (PLIT08012) OR Politics and International Relations 1A: Concepts and Debates (PLIT08017)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students who lack the compulsory pre-requisites but have completed comparable courses should contact the Course Organiser to confirm if they are eligible to take this course.
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  270
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 20, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 10, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 164 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 85 %, Practical Exam 15 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Literature Review 1,500 words - 25%,
Data collection and research design project, 3000 words - 60 %,
Tutorial participation 15%

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No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand, critically assess and undertake research design relevant to the study of Politics and International Relations
  2. Acquire knowledge of a range of data collection methods (and how to assess the appropriateness of these for different research questions)
  3. Identify and be able to critically reflect on the key steps within successful research design
  4. Understand how to how to select cases and navigate measurement and ethical issues in order to answer and assess research questions and hypotheses
  5. Understand how to undertake, and acquire practice in undertaking, data collection and learn how to describe the results in an academic context
Reading List
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Skills and abilities in research and enquiry
Skills and abilities in personal autonomy
Skills and abilities in communication
Technical and practical skills
KeywordsResearch design,methods,methodologies
Course organiserDr Ailsa Henderson
Tel: (0131 6)51 1618
Course secretaryMr Brodie Hamilton
Tel: (0131 6)51 3139
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