Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2083: The Research Toolkit for Politics and International Relations

This module descriptor refers to the 2017/8 academic year.

Please note that this module is only delivered on the Penryn Campus.

Module Content

Syllabus Plan

Whilst the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, it is envisaged that the syllabus will cover some or all of the following topics:

Lectures on methods:

Introduction to the course

Methods in context (epistemology)

Research design / research questions


Ethnography / participant observation

Qualitative interviews / grounded theory

Case studies / comparative analysis

Document / archive analysis

Big data analysis

Social surveys / questionnaire design


Computer workshops:

Inputting survey data into SPSS

Descriptive statistics in SPSS



Generating research questions

Producing an ethics application

Planning an ethnography

Writing up field notes

Designing an interview schedule

Analysing an interview transcript using a grounded theory approach

Taxonomy and the rationale for selecting case studies

Doing documentary analysis

Designing a social survey

Producing descriptive statistics

Learning and Teaching

This table provides an overview of how your hours of study for this module are allocated:

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

...and this table provides a more detailed breakdown of the hours allocated to various study activities:

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching activities2718 x 1.5 hour workshops
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activity1515 x 1 hour lectures
Guided Independent Study5418 x 3 hours for dedicated group tasks (generating and analysing data: e.g. designing survey and conducting interviews locally).
Guided Independent Study40Preparing for and producing literature review
Guided Independent Study40Producing independent contributions to the research proposal
Guided Independent Study42Private study: reading material set on reading list, including journal articles which show how research methods have been used in practice
Guided Independent Study12Producing field notes from ethnography
Guided Independent Study30Qualitative interviewing report
Guided Independent Study20Preparing presentation
Guided Independent Study20Producing independent research proposal

Online Resources

This module has online resources available via ELE (the Exeter Learning Environment).