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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PIED2721 Approaches to Analysis

20 creditsClass Size: 200

Module manager: Dr Emma-Louise Anderson/Dr Yoshiharu Kobayashi

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Module replaces

PIED 2720 Approaches to Political Science

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module introduces students to the epistemological and ontological approaches to research and associated methodologies. The lectures showcase the latest exciting research in POLIS to provide a grounding in the key principles of designing and implementing a research project and the key methods commonly used in the fields of politics, international development and international relations. Throughout the workshop activities students will develop their abilities to design their own research project and gain practical experience of gathering evidence. The Research Proposal and the workshop activities practise crucial transferable skills that add to students’ employability.


- Provide grounding in basic epistemological positions that underpin approaches to research
- Introduce students to dominant methodological/theoretical frameworks that shape approaches to research
- Introduce students to the dominant methods used in research, including methods that they may later use in a level three dissertation project

Learning outcomes
- Students will be able to both understand and critically evaluate key epistemological positions
- Students will grasp the link between the philosophy of the social sciences and approaches to research
- Students will critically evaluate both the assumptions and approaches associated with key methodological/theoretical frameworks used in research
- Students will evaluate the utility of particular methodologies/theories for analysing, understanding and explaining empirical events
- Students will engage in small-group work in which empirical issues are analysed using particular approaches or concepts
- Students will develop awareness of, and sensitivity to, the ethical issues involved in research
- Students will critically evaluate the strengths and limitations of key research methods
- Students will develop appreciation of the use of key methods for obtaining data and information in particular fields of research

Skills outcomes
Students will develop skills in
- Interrogating the epistemological assumptions underpinning research work
- Navigating the links between theories, concepts, frameworks and applied research
- Constructing independent written critical reviews of key approaches to research
- Formulating verbal criticism of key assumptions, approaches and methods used in research
- Working in small-groups to analyse empirical issues using key concepts
- Highlighting the strengths and limitations of using particular research methods to research particular issues



• Research Design
• Qualitative methods e.g. documentary analysis, interviews
• Quantitative methods e.g. survey design

N.B. The topics cited above on research methods are indicative only and in a given academic year the module teaching team will decide upon the most appropriate research methods to teach according to perceived student need.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours181.00
Total Contact hours19.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Students will be required to prepare for discussions in seminars through extensive reading of sources listed on the module reading list. In addition to this, students should spend time preparing for their assessments which could include finding and using sources not listed on their reading list.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

You will have the opportunity to submit a plan of your assessed essay at mid-term in the module and get feedback from your tutor.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Research Proposal2,500 word research proposal100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 17/01/2024 11:58:47


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