Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3203: Comparative Public Opinion

This module descriptor refers to the 2016/7 academic year.

Module Aims

The module aims to equip you with the tools to understand and critically evaluate public opinion research, particularly in the context of Europe. The first part of the course deals with general theoretical frameworks. It addresses the formation of political attitudes and the relationship between parties and masses. The second part of the course applies these theoretical frameworks in the context of European integration. Since a lot of work in public opinion research is based on quantitative data, such as large-N surveys and survey experiments, an emphasis is also put on the development of skills needed to understand quantitative research. You will learn to critically evaluate quantitative research in order to assess the extent to which a particular research design, data set, or analysis offers empirical support for the conclusion drawn by its author(s). The course follows a seminar style format that puts much weight on your involvement: the instructor will make brief remarks to introduce a topic, while the majority of the seminar builds on student presentations, student led discussions, and students’ (written) reactions to the required readings. 

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

This module's assessment will evaluate your achievement of the ILOs listed here – you will see reference to these ILO numbers in the details of the assessment for this module.

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to:
Module-Specific Skills1. demonstrate knowledge of the major theories in the field of public opinion research
2. apply theories of opinion formation to various issues in the context of European politics
3. demonstrate knowledge of basic and advanced methodologies used by public opinion researchers
Discipline-Specific Skills4. understand and critically evaluate a broad spectrum of research designs, with a particular focus on quantitative research
5. exercise informed judgment concerning the use of empirical evidence in support of an argument in published research
6. synthesize competing theories to analyse new problems
Personal and Key Skills7. demonstrate critical-thinking, in particular as related to quantitative evidence and conclusions
8. demonstrate ability to present complex arguments with clarity and concision
9. work independently and with peers to meet common research and assessment deadlines effectively