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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

This course is an introduction to issues of research design, data collection and effective academic communication in political science research.  Its primary objective is to introduce students to the basic rationale, logic and method of original empirical research.  It prepares students for how one develops and translates interesting questions and broad theoretical concepts into manageable research projects, and how to communicate the project’s ideas and findings. This requires an understanding of the state of the art of the discipline and the diversity of theoretical and methodological approaches. 

Course Details

Study Type Postgraduate Level 5
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Old Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Lynn Bennie

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

  • Any Postgraduate Programme (Studied)

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PI5511 Research Design and Data Collection (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

A full understanding of the methodological basis of inquiry into political processes, institutions, behaviour and attitudes is a necessary preparation for MRes students. To this end, the course introduces to a range of important topics with regard to research design: philosophy of science, the nature, value and problems associated with comparative political science, the logic of scientific inference, the interrelationship between theories and methods, the scientific standards of falsifiability, validity, reliability and replicability, and the basic principles of data collection. In addition, the course will familiarise students with a range of available data types (e.g. from surveys, texts, oral accounts, documents or experiments), the selection criteria involved in choosing data for hypothesis testing, as well as general problems of operationalisation, measurement and credibility of data sources.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Seminar during University weeks 25 - 35

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

Seminar presentation critique of 2000 words 30%, research design paper 4000 words 70%.

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.



Course Learning Outcomes


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