Module code: POL3085

Module Overview

This module is an opportunity for students who are not writing a dissertation to take part in some primary research and produce a short research paper. Students will have the opportunity to be involved in ongoing research (including data planning and data collection) expanding upon their understanding of the ways in which social research is designed and conducted. It will provide a broad overview of both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research in the social sciences and their training will be tailored to the individual projects that they select to undertake. In addition, it will develop students capacities to design research questions and select appropriate methods of data collection and analysis to enable them to answer their research questions. Most importantly it will encourage students to think critically about the topic of their choice, construct an appropriate research design and operationalise it within the format of a scientific piece that they will also present within the Undergraduate Student Conference. Supported by staff, students will collect data, draft a conference paper and present their findings to fellow students and/or the department at a research seminar.

Module provider


Module Leader


Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 120

Seminar Hours: 12

Tutorial Hours: 10

Guided Learning: 4

Captured Content: 4

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

This module is not available to students taking POL3061 Dissertation.

Module content

The module allows students to engage with empirical research currently being undertaken by staff in the department. They will engage in research planning and data collection in the form of research labs, producing a short research report and presentation within the area of politics/international politics. The type of research being undertaken will fall within the area of politics/international politics and could involve a qualitative or quantitative approach. Students will need to engage with the preparation and appropriate presentation of:

  • Literature review (collection of literature as well as discussion/analysis)

  • Planning methodological frameworks (including for example discussing coding frames, selecting relevant datasets)

  • Data collection (e.g. undertaking document analysis, coding written material, focus groups)

  • Data analysis Students will present the results of the research in the form of a conference paper to staff and students in the Politics UG Conference alongside some of their colleagues undertaking a dissertation. They will also present the findings to staff and/or students in a research seminar in the department.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Presentation (10-15 mins) 30
Coursework Conference Paper (4000 words) 70

Alternative Assessment

An 800 word blog could be produced by students who were unable to complete the presentation.

Assessment Strategy

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

  • Strong use of primary research skills

  • The ability to critically analyse research data and explain its significance in relation to current academic literature

  • The ability to present research findings in different formats (oral/written)

  • Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

    • Conference Paper – 4000 words (70%)

    • Presentation – 10/15 minutes (30%)

The class will run as a research lab and therefore students will receive ongoing guidance from staff regarding the research being undertaken. Time will be set aside in class to discuss the conference paper and presentation. Where students are asked to undertake tasks in preparation for the research lab, verbal feedback as well as recorded material (in video or audio format) will be given as part of the class.

Formative feedback will be provided in a number of occasions throughout the module.

Module aims

  • Provide an opportunity for students to put research skills developed through their undergraduate programme into practice.
  • Allow students to understand and explore some of the theoretical and methodological challenges of carrying out research.
  • Enable students who are not completing a dissertation to complete a short research based paper and presentation.
  • Develop students’ ability to work independently as well as part of a research team.
  • Through the in-class activities as well as oral assessment, students will be trained in scientific research practices, become familiar with relevant databases and other academic resources as well as develop broader transferable skills such as public speaking and the appropriate use of technology in presentations and group work.
  • Build a robust understanding through the integrated use of digital tools including MS Teams channels, interactive digital platforms as well as effective presentation skills to advance students¿ vocational skills and their prospects towards graduate studies.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Select appropriate research methods to answer a research question CKPT
002 Critically analyse quantitative or qualitative data CKP
003 Work independently following a research framework PT
004 Work effectively as part of a research team PT
005 Present research findings in both written and oral format to convey key findings CKPT
006 Formulate and appropriately support their own approaches to their topics in a critical, scientific fashion thereby also building confidence as well as resilience CPT
007 Start considering their role as future political scientists, both in a social as well as vocational sense PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • Introduce students to research projects, working as part of a team to carry out a small scale piece of empirical research.

  • Familiarise them with the challenges of undertaking research in the real world.

  • Enable them to work closely with staff on a piece of original reseach.

The learning and teaching methods include: Research Labs (11 x 2 hr) with additional 1-2-1 session organised by the module leader. Additional digital material to support them with their projects will also be provided throughout the course of the semester.

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
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: POL3085

Other information


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Politics and Sociology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
International Relations BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Politics and Economics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

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 2022/3 academic year.