Introduction to Political Analysis
- Course Code:
- Unit value:
- Year of study:
- Year 1 or Year 2
- Taught in:
- Full Year
This course is a core course in both the BA Politics and BA International Relations degrees and provides a general introduction to methods of political analysis. The course provides the foundation for further study of Politics and International Relations, covering such areas as philosophy of social science, scientific methods, theoretical and methodological debates and skills key to critical reading, writing and analysis. Substantive areas of coverage include debates over structure and agency, politics and policy, historical methods, qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of politics and international relations, measurement, inference and interpretation, the use of evidence in argumentation, narrative and language. The course is designed to complement other foundational courses in the Department of Politics and International Studies.
Objectives and learning outcomes of the course
- Knowledge of the range of analytical and methodological approaches in Politics and International Studies.
- Ability to critically evaluate and apply theories and methods in Politics and International Studies
- Knowledge of major conceptual and analytical debates in Politics and International Studies
- Ability to think critically, analyse texts and structure essays in the field of Politics and International Studies
- Ability to analyse aspects of politics and international studies from a variety of perspectives
- Ability to apply theories to case studies
- Ability to critically evaluate the relationship between knowledge, power and policy.
Scope and syllabus
2. What is Politics?
3. Political Analysis: Science or Critique?
4. Reading Texts: Assumptions and Arguments
5. Writing Essays: Addressing a Question
6. Concepts and Theories
8. Hypothesis Testing
9. Causal Inference
10. Sampling and Selection Bias
11. Rigour versus Richness?
12.Levels of Analysis and Comparison
13. Structure and Agency
14. Continuity and Change
15. Decision Making
19. Normative Dimensions
Method of assessment
Assessment is 1 hour written exam worth 26.5%; six 1000 word essays (five assessed worth 10% each); 1 hour "in-class formative assessment exercise with multiple choice and short-answer questions), worth 13.5%