SPOL41020 Data & Methods for Policy Analysis

Academic Year 2023/2024

The objective of this course is to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to undertake policy analysis in a professional setting. The skills acquired on this course are intended to prepare students to undertake internships, complete a research thesis and commence careers in policy related roles.
Key topics covered in the module include:
- The availability and accessibility of key data sources for national, international, and comparative policy analysis.
- The principal methods used to gather qualitative and quantitative data for policy analysis.
- How to formulate a policy research question and write a policy report.
- How to critically evaluate a policy report.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will be able to:
- Understand and access key sources of national data for policy analysis including survey and administrative data.
- Understand and access key sources of international data for comparative policy analysis.
- Understand the major methods of data collection, both quantitative and qualitative.
- Understand and critically assess the suite of policy analysis tools available to professionals in policy analysis.
- Critically evaluate published policy analysis reports.
- Apply key policy analysis tools to consider national and international policy analysis questions.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Computer Aided Lab


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
The course is delivered as a mixture of face-to-face and online lectures (6 classes) and computer-based classes (4 classes) and takes an applied approach. Computer-based classes will use quantitative data and datasets from official sources and qualitative sources relating to recent policy reforms. 
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
Group Project: Group Presentation Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Project: Individual research project Coursework (End of Trimester) n/a 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

• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Students will be provided with feedback which includes the assignment grade and some comments. These will be circulated electronically to students.

Core texts:

The following texts offer a comprehensive overview of many of the policy research approaches and methods we will discuss throughout the course. They are complemented by further specific reading corresponding to each lecture/lab topic and these are listed in the course outline.

Bryman, A. (2016). Social research methods (5th edition). Oxford, Oxford University Press. [earlier editions are also ok]

De Vaus, D. (2002). Analyzing Social Science Data: 50 key problems in data analysis. London, Sage.
Name Role
Dr Stephan Koeppe Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, 12 Fri 11:00 - 12:50
Computer Aided Lab Offering 1 Week(s) - 5, 6, 7, 9 Fri 11:00 - 12:50