Module code: POL3083

Module Overview

The module aims to deepen students’ knowledge of the UK Parliament and its key functions. It builds on students’ existing knowledge of current affairs, with the study of contemporary parliamentary events through a more detailed analytical and theoretical framework. It encourages students to read widely about different aspects of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Weekly sessions will include hands-on experience of using different types of parliamentary data including: a content analysis of Prime Minister’s Questions, the coding of amendments to legislation; discussion of key parliamentary moments and material from the BBC documentaries ‘Inside the Commons’ and ‘Meet the Lords’.  The module may include a visiting speaker (depending on availability) or a visit to Westminster to see Parliament in action.


The module complements and builds upon work taken in POL1017 (Debates in British Politics) and in POL XXXX Making Public Policy: Theory and Practice. There are no pre-requisites for the module, simply an interest in current affairs and a willingness to keep abreast of news and parliamentary coverage over the course of the module.

Module provider


Module Leader

VAN HAUWAERT S Dr (Politics)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: L230

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

The module content may include:

Introduction to the Module: Key features of Parliament
The Legislative Studies View: What do power, impact and influence mean?
Holding Government to account: Prime Minister’s Questions and the Liaison Committee
Holding Government to account: Select Committees
Making the law? Scrutinising Legislation
Making the law? Private Member’s Bills and campaigning to change the law
Small parties in Parliament
Constituency Work
The House of Lords
The image of Parliament
UK Parliament in Perspective: A reactive legislature?

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework RESEARCH ESSAY (3,500 WORDS) 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

The ability to apply theoretical concepts to contemporary political situations.

Strong use of primary research skills.
The ability to integrate original research with existing literature/knowledge.

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

Abstract and Research Plan: 1000 words (20%)
Research Essay : 3500 words (80%)


Both assessments should answer the same question. The abstract and research plan is designed to allow students to receive feedback on their plans for independent primary research before completing the research essay.  Please see the module handbook for further information. Assessments deadlines to be confirmed – students should refer to the Module Handbook prior to the start of semester.


Formative assessment and feedback

Assessment deadlines will be arranged so that students will receive feedback on their research plan before submitting the research essay. Time will be set aside in most seminars to discuss the assessment (e.g. advice on writing an abstract, using primary material, referencing parliamentary and government documents). Where students are asked to complete small tasks in advance of the seminar, verbal feedback will be given to the group as a whole.

Module aims

  • Build on existing knowledge of the UK Parliament and the wider political system
  • Develop students’ ability to critically analyse contemporary political events through existing legislative studies theories and analytical frameworks.
  • Introduce students to the use of primary parliamentary and political material.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Develop advanced knowledge and understanding of the roles and functions of the UK Parliament KC
002 Enhance their understanding of contemporary debates surrounding the effectiveness of parliamentary processes and actors KC
003 Draw upon their own independent research to apply theoretical models to empirical examples. KCPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 11

Seminar Hours: 11

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

Encourage students to carry out independent research prior to the seminar.
Facilitate the discussion and analysis of primary parliamentary material in seminars.

The learning and teaching methods include:

Seminars (1 -2 hours per week x 11 weeks), prescribed reading, group discussions, independent study, research and analysis of primary material. Preparation of short task prior to weekly seminars (information to be given to students in the preceding seminar). Some weeks may include a 1 hour lecture for the first part of the seminar.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.