Introduction to Research Methods

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 2
Term 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
Department of Politics and International Studies

Module overview

This module is designed to provide a general introduction to problems, approaches and debates in social science methods. The aim is to make undergraduate students familiar with different methodological languages and approaches and foster a critical understanding of them. It is roughly divided into two parts: an engagement with basic issues in the philosophy of social science and epistemology (weeks 2-5), and an introduction to quantitative and qualitative approaches to knowledge production (weeks 6-10).


Introduction to Political Analysis 153400086

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  • Be familiar with the language(s) of social science methodology and provide both a solid grounding in the key issues and a critical understanding of them
  • Introduce students to basic epistemological questions, approaches and debates in the philosophy of social sciences
  • Introduce students to common/popular methods in the social science, both positivist and interpretivist, qualitative and quantitative


This module will be taught over 10 weeks with:

  • 1 hour lecture per week
  • 1 hour tutorial per week

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Essay 30%
Assignment 2: Essay 70%

Suggested reading

  • Bayard De Volo, Lorraine and Edward Schatz (2004) ‘From the Inside Out: Ethnographic Methods in Political Research’, Political Studies Online, 267-271
  • Foucault, Michel (2001 [1966]) The Order of Things: Archeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics)
  • Hollis, Martin (2002) The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press
  • Kuhn, Thomas S (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago University Press)
  • Lebow, Richard Ned and Mark Irving Lichbach (eds.) (2007) Theory and Evidence in Comparative Politics and International Relations, New York: Palgrave


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules