Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POC2048: Research Methods in International Relations

This module descriptor refers to the 2018/9 academic year.

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


NQF Level 5
Credits 15 ECTS Value 7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 2 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Aneta Brockhill (Lecturer)





Available via distance learning


This module will train you to design, justify, and plan independent research in International Relations. Conducting research in the field of International Relations poses unique challenges: how do we understand and access ‘the international’? What counts as data? What kind of causal claims can be made? What are the philosophical assumptions that underpin particular research processes, and how do they shape the questions that can be asked and answered?

 The module will begin by introducing the historical context in which methodological and research processes have been debated in International Relations scholarship. You will be introduced to the so-called ‘great debates’ of International Relations, key principles of the philosophy of social science, and the possibilities for pluralist understandings of causality. After this, several staff – experts in their fields – will provide an introduction to their research approach/methods and the philosophical assumptions contained therein. Each staff member will also guide you through an in-depth application of their approach/method in the context of their cutting-edge research.

 Through the module you will be taught how to generate your own research questions, design and plan an independent research project, and conduct a literature review.

While no prior knowledge skills or experience are required to take this module and it is suitable for specialist and non-specialist students. 

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