POL42330 Research Design

Academic Year 2024/2025

In this module, you will learn how to formulate a research question in political science and develop a research design to answer this question analytically and systematically. The topics will cover the general overview of research questions, what a research design is, the elements of good research design, different ways of making causal inferences in political science research, and how to work with concepts and structure a research paper. Furthermore, we will discuss different types of research designs and the logic of various types of quantitative and qualitative research designs. The module will be based on lectures, group discussions, and group exercises, to enable you to better assess the merits of existing political science research and provide you with the tools to undertake independent research of your own.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this module, the students will learn the questions and core concepts of political science research. Students will be able to critically assess a variety of research designs and what (causal) research questions can be answered in principle and how. They will be able to evaluate the implications of different empirical social science research and reflect on the logic, advantages and disadvantages of different designs. Finally, the students will gain experience in developing a research design to address a research question of their interest.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Each session includes theory lectures, empirical examples, group work, and class discussions. Participants will also be expected to prepare thoroughly for each of the classes, particularly engaging with core compulsory readings, and to allocate a substantial amount of time to the completion of assessment work outside the classroom hours.
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade In Module Component Repeat Offered
Assignment(Including Essay): Research Design - Part III (max. 1200 words): Writing a research proposal (research question, theoretical framework, hypotheses, and a description of the proposed data collection and analysis) Week 14 Graded No


Assignment(Including Essay): Research Design - Part I (800 words max.): Formulating a research question and hypotheses (empirical expectations) based on a brief literature review Week 4 Graded No


Group Work Assignment: Research Design - Part II (max. 800 words): Group report on reviewing a research article Week 8 Graded No



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

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Feedback will be provided to students within 20 working days of the deadline for the assignment in accordance with university policy.