POL41640 Qualitative Research Methods for Political Science

Academic Year 2023/2024

This seminar introduces graduate students to the logic of inference (descriptive and causal) in the qualitative tradition in political science research. It exposes students to the logic behind concept formation, within and cross- case study designs. The module is designed for students to understand the distinctive ways in which qualitative researchers think about the structure of causal relations, standards of good practices to make causal inferences, case selection strategies, and criteria to evaluate the inferential power of causal process observations. The course focuses on understanding causal processes producing outcomes in specific cases.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module graduate researchers will be quipped to:

Understand the logic of qualitative causal inference and distinguish it from other forms of inference
Identify causal mechanisms, causal processes and how to trace them
Identify adequate case selection strategies and pursue comparative and counter-factual thinking
Understand the difference between qualitative research design, techniques, and data gathering tools

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
To achieve the objectives set, this module is run as a seminar, it relies heavily on student engagement with reading materials prior to class, and active participation in the classroom, as well as individual and group work. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment: Draft research design. Unspecified n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Assignment: Final design. Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Class participation. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No


Continuous Assessment: Weekly short written reflection on the readings. Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% No



Carry forward of passed components
Resit In Terminal Exam
Summer No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment
• Peer review activities

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.