PIM85-Introduction to Qualitative research methods in Politics and International Relations

Module Provider: Graduate Institute for Politics and International Studies
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2018/9

Module Convenor: Dr Joseph O' Mahoney

Email: j.p.a.omahoney@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module covers the basics of research design and focuses attention on a range of widely used qualitative research methods in the study of politics and international relations. The main topics covered normally include case studies and within-case analysis, small-n comparative analysis, historical approaches, archival research, interview technique, critical discourse analysis, ethnographic methods and qualitative comparative analysis. The assessment for the module includes an online test, and a report in which you consider how you would apply the methods covered in the module to an actual research project.

1. To equip students with an understanding of qualitative methods used in social science research.
2. To analyse the advantages and disadvantages of various research techniques and to consider for what purposes those techniques are most appropriate

Assessable learning outcomes:
At the end of this unit students should be able to:

1. Assess the strengths and weaknesses of various qualitative social research methods
2. Evaluate the appropriateness of these methods for their own research task
3. Critically evaluate the qualitative research methods employed in social science literature

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module will be taught in weekly two-hour seminars in the Autumn and Spring Terms. Students will be encouraged to use examples taken from their own field (and from their own research, where possible) in class discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Seminars 18 10
Guided independent study 82 90
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Class test administered by School 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
An online test about the research methods covered in the module (worth 40% of the module mark).
A 3,000-word report outlining how the research methods covered in the module could be applied to an actual research project (worth 60% of the module mark).

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Assessment requirements for a pass:
An overall module mark of 50%

Reassessment arrangements:
Resubmission of report and retaking of online test in September

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding: Students may incur photocopying costs for seminar reading or research at 5p per sheet.
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 10 September 2018


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