Research Methods in
Politics
1
Introduction
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
1
Teaching & Learning Objectives
1.
to answer the question: what is research?
2.
to introduce key features of research specific to Politics
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
2
What is research?
process of systematic inquiry
 inquisitive: seeking to answer the research question
 careful, methodical
 original


academic research has a central concern for theory:
testing existing theory (deductive research) or
developing new theory (inductive research)
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
3
The research process
research question
 literature and theory review
 data collection
 analysis
 interpretation
 conclusions

Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
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What is Politics?

[The academic discipline of Politics is concerned with]
developing a knowledge of government and society.
The interaction of people, ideas and institutions
provides the focus to understand how values are
allocated and resources distributed at many levels
from the local to the sectoral, national, regional and
global. The analyses of who gets what, when , how,
why, and where are central and pertain to elated
questions of power, justice, order, conflict, legitimacy,
accountability, obligation, sovereignty and decisionmaking. Politics encompasses philosophical,
theoretical, institutional and issue-based concerns
relating to governance (QAA, 2000)
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
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The course
INTRODUCTION
1. Introduction
2. Power, Ethics, Bias
3. Philosophy and Principles
METHODOLOGIES
4. Quantitative and Qualitative
Research
5. Case Studies, Comparative etc
Research
COLLECTING INFORMATION
6. Evaluating Published Research
7.
Validity, Reliability, Accuracy
8. Literature Review
9. Interviews
10. Questionnaire Surveys
11. Observation
ANALYSIS
The Process
QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS
13. Descriptive Statistics
Inferential Statistics
Regression Analysis
Factor Analysis
QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS
17. Analysing ‘talk and text’
18. Content Analysis
Discourse Analysis
COMMUNICATING RESEARCH
20. Writing-Up
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
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Questions for Discussion or Assignments
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
What is Politics? Is Political Science more
appropriate, a misnomer or oxymoron?
What is Research?
What is the current research agenda for Politics?
What topics would you like to see added? Why?
Is power central to Politics?
Which research methods are generic to social
sciences? Which others, if any, are specific to
Politics?
What are the implications of postmodernism for
academic research? Is there a distinction between
truth and facts?
Research Methods in Politics: 1:
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Course Texts
Pierce, R. (2008) Research Methods in Politics: a
practical guide. London: Sage.
 Burnham, P., Grillard, K., Grant, W., and LaytonHenry, Z. (2004) Research Methods in Politics.
Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
 Harrison, L. (2001) Political Research: an
introduction,. London: Routledge.
 Marsh, D., and Stoker, G. (eds.) (2002) Theory
and Methods in Political Science. Basingstoke:
Palgrave

Research Methods in Politics: 1:
Introduction
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Research Methods in Politics 1