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Methods in Political Science

The course aims to introduce students to methods for a scientific study of politics. The course deals with planning, execution, reporting and evaluation of small research projects in political science.

The course illuminates the overall research process in terms of problem formulation, design and data collection, processing and analysis, and evaluation. Within this context, the course provides more advanced theoretical and applied knowledge of a selection of qualitative or quantitative approaches and methods. The course is intended for students who plan to undertake an independent research project in political science for a master's degree or who plan to participate in other qualified research and report work.

  • Course structure

    The course consists of the following two modules, of which students select one.

    Modules

    Qualitative Methods, 15 credits:

    Qualitative methods aims to give students an introduction to, but also an in-depth understanding of, central qualitative methods in the scientific study of politics. The course deals with planning, execution, reporting and evaluation of minor research projects in political science. The course illuminates the overall research process in terms of problem formulation, design and data collection, processing and analysis, and evaluation. Within this context, the course provides more advanced theoretical and applied knowledge of qualitative approaches and methods. Central approaches include process tracing, discourse analysis, idea/argument analysis and political ethnography.

    Quantitative Methods, 15 credits:

    Quantitative methods aims to give students and introduction to, as well as in-depth understanding of, important quantitative methods in the scientific study of politics. We will deal with the question of how one best describes patterns in, and generalizes from a dataset. A number of central quantitative techniques associated with explanatory approaches to politics are also covered. Some of the main themes are descriptive statistics, statistical inference, regression analysis time-series analysis and experimental approaches. Throughout the course, the techniques will be applied using statistical software.

    Teaching format

    The course consists of lectures and seminars.

    Assessment

    Course module Qualitative methods, 15 cr, is examined through two written exams. Course module Quantitative methods, 15 cr, is examined through two written exams.

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Course literature

    Note that the course literature can be changed up to two months before the start of the course.
  • Contact

    Course responsible teachers
    Ludvig Norman (Qualitative methods) and Kåre Vernby (Quantitaive methods)

    Student counsellor
    studievagledare@statsvet.su.se

    Student office
    studentexpedition@statsvet.su.se