PIM86-Introduction to Quantitative research methods in Politics and International Relations

Module Provider: Graduate Institute for Politics and Internat Studs
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn / Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites: Students are exempt and should not take PIM86 if they enrol in an econometrics course provided by the Department of Economics. Proof of enrolment in that course will need to be given to the convenors of PIM86.
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Damian Raess

Email: d.raess@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:
The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the basics of research design and the principal quantitative methods used in political science and international relations. The course discusses the best practice for the collection and analysis of information about human behaviour and institutions. To help students understand and apply research methods, the discussion and many of the examples used in the module will be taken from existing quantitative research in international relations, comparative politics and political economy. Students are then required to test hypotheses using the methods they have learned in the course.

The module aims to familiarise students with the process of data collection, to introduce students to a range of quantitative research techniques and how these methods should be assessed, and to allow students to test hypotheses using these methods.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the course students should be able
•To identify relevant sources of data and discuss the process of collecting data
•To understand the principal types of statistical analysis
•To understand and critically assess quantitative results in existing political science and international relations research
•To use basic statistical techniques used in political science and international relations to test hypotheses from their research

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
The module covers the basics of research design, and a range of basic techniques useful in the analysis of political data, including: presenting and summarizing data; descriptive statistics; normal distribution; bivariate analysis; content analysis, factor analysis, regression analysis; times series analysis; panel data analysis; logistic regression analysis.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and seminars cover the main module material, supported by lab sessions. Students will complete readings before each lecture to be discussed in class and also undertake formative exercises and problem sets. They will have labs where they learn to apply the methods reviewed in the lectures to their own field and to their own research, where possible. Students will learn to use SPSS/Stata software to conduct basic data analysis.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 7 9
Seminars 8
Practicals classes and workshops 9 9
Guided independent study 76 82
Total hours by term 100.00 100.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 50
Written assignment including essay 50

Other information on summative assessment:
The module is assessed through a combination of a 3 hours exam and a 3,000 words (not counting tables and appendices) mini-research project that uses some of the methods covered in the course to test hypotheses.

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

Length of examination:
Three (3) hours

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall module mark

Reassessment arrangements:
Reassessment is via the original assessment methods. Re-sit examinations take place in August.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books:

The course will use the following as the primary textbook:

J.B. Johnson and H.T. Reynolds 2005. Political Science Research Methods, 5th edition (CQ Press).  ISBN:1568028741


Useful introductory document for Stata statistical software:

Johnston, Alison (2016) Methods/Stata manual for school of public policy. Oregon state university. Version 2.1. You can access it here: http://liberalarts.oregonstate.edu/files/polisci/faculty_files/johnston/soc516statamanualsept2013.pdf

2) Specialist equipment or materials: 

3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear: 

4) Printing and binding:

5) Computers and devices with a particular specification: 

6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:


Last updated: 31 March 2017

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