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Last modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:53

Course Overview

Research methods and techniques are fundamental to the study of Politics and International Relations. In addition, they are highly desired by employers. This course will introduce students to a number of different research techniques which they will use throughout their studies at Honours and in particular their Honours dissertation. Moreover, they will also constitute a significant part of their graduate attributes.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 30 credits (15 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr Kathrin Thomas

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

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

  • Either International Relations (IR) (Studied) or Politics (PI) (Studied)
  • Any Undergraduate Programme (Studied)
  • Programme Level 3

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

Course Aims

This course will introduce students to a wide variety of research techniques which will be utilized at honours level in both Politics and International Relations. Students will become proficient in the areas of Quantitative Methods, Qualitative Methods, discourse analysis, archival research and interview techniques. This will allow students to formulate and produce an individual research project proposal. 

Main Learning Outcomes

A proficiency in the areas of Quantitative Methods, Qualitative Methods, discourse analysis, archival research and interview techniques. An ability to formulate and produce an individual research project proposal. 

Course Content

Each of the methods detailed below will be examined in turn.

1. Quantitative Methods
2. Qualitative Methods
3. Discourse analysis
4. Archival research
5. Interview techniques

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 Computer Practical during University weeks 9 - 20

More Information about Week Numbers

Summative Assessments

Group Project (week 6) 25%

Individual Project (week 9) 25%

Research Proposal (week 11) 50%

Alternative Resit Arrangements

Second attempt at whatever part of the assignment the student failed.  

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
ConceptualUnderstandStudents learn to understand why and how we apply different research methods to analyse politics and international relations, including research ethics.
ProceduralEvaluateStudents learn to critically read and write about research, starting from critically reading previous research, organising arguments/thoughts and writing structured literature reviews.
ProceduralApplyStudents learn to apply a variety of research methods, including the collection of empirical data and data analysis. As this includes a team project, students apply the rules of collaborative research
ReflectionCreateStudents produce a research proposal in which they apply and critically reflect on research methods in relation to their own research questions learning to plan and pursue a research project.

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