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Programme & Unit Catalogues

PL50869: Scopes and methods of politics and international relations

[Page last updated: 05 August 2021]

Academic Year: 2021/2
Owning Department/School: Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies
Credits: 6 [equivalent to 12 CATS credits]
Notional Study Hours: 120
Level: Masters UG & PG (FHEQ level 7)
Semester 1
Assessment Summary: CW 100%
Assessment Detail:
  • Coursework 1 (Essay) (CW 50%)
  • Coursework 2 (Portfolio) (CW 50%)
Supplementary Assessment:
Like-for-like reassessment (where allowed by programme regulations)
Aims: The unit aims to provide:
* present a general background of the methods used by social scientists in the empirical study of their disciplines.
* provide the knowledge necessary to conduct objective investigations of empirical phenomena on our own or to better understand and evaluate the research of others.
* an effective insight into the study of social phenomena through a detailed study of different methods and approaches to comparative analysis;
* theoretical and empirical understanding and analysis of social science;
* a consideration of the major issues in positive and normative social inquiry.

Learning Outcomes: Students who have successfully completed this unit will:
* have acquired an advanced knowledge of social inquiry;
* understand different approaches to explaining social phenomena;
* have acquired a good understanding of the theoretical models for the study of social science;
* have advanced knowledge of social science methods;
* be able to critically analyse foreign policy across different policy areas. (rule, security, etc).

Skills: The key skills the unit will hone and further develop are:
Skills in critical analysis, conceptual thinking, precision in the use of written and spoken language, exercise of independent judgment, reasoned argument, and the planning/conduct/reporting of quantitative and non-quantitative research are taught and assessed in this unit. Skills in effective learning are developed in this unit.

Content: The content of the unit will revolve around the following themes:
* Studying Politics Scientifically
* Research Design
* The Building Blocks of Social Scientific Research: Hypotheses, Concepts, and Variables
* The Building Blocks of Social Science Research: Measurement
* Making Empirical Observations: Direct and Indirect Observations
* Elite Interviewing and Survey Research
* Measuring Relationships and Testing Hypotheses.

Programme availability:

PL50869 is a Designated Essential Unit on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

PL50869 is Compulsory on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies

PL50869 is Optional on the following programmes:

Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies


  • This unit catalogue is applicable for the 2021/22 academic year only. Students continuing their studies into 2022/23 and beyond should not assume that this unit will be available in future years in the format displayed here for 2021/22.
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