Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3266: Elections and Voting in Britain

This module descriptor refers to the 2020/1 academic year.

Module Aims

The module aims to give students an introduction to the art of psephology – the study of elections and voting – in the context of British elections. We will cover everything from the schedule and announcement of elections, to the excitement and drama of results night, and the voter behaviour and dynamics which underpin British elections.

The module combines theoretical understanding and debate around voters and elections in Britain with empirical research on results and surveys and critical evaluation of the use of data and statistics in British politics research. The reading list draws on a diverse range of scholars and sources covering British electoral history, electoral administration, polling and forecasting, voter behaviour, and election results and dynamics. Students will engage with this literature and also with data on elections and voters from the British Election Study.

The module is taught through a combination of bite-size lectures, seminar sessions, and data labs. By the end of the module, students will be familiar and confident with the topics of British elections and voting, have developed new skills in the analysis of election and voter data, and be able to produce written work and debate the concepts of voter behaviour and the British electoral system.

For students already familiar with the data analysis components, opportunities will be provided to upskill and learn new techniques for psephology research.

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 details knowledge of theoretical and empirical approaches to the study of elections and voting behaviour in Britain.
2. Empirically apply these approaches to the study of British elections over the last four decades using statistical methods.
Discipline-Specific Skills3. Demonstrate comprehensive knowledge of concepts, approaches and methodologies in the area of elections and voting, and ability to contextualise them within the broader discipline of politics.
4. Develop and present coherently and reflectively, orally and in writing, evidence-based arguments relevant to the module content.
5. Read, understand, interpret and evaluate basic statistical analyses in the professional literature.
6. Construct arguments based on (quantitative) empirical evidence for both written and oral presentation.
Personal and Key Skills7. Study independently and take responsibility for learning and skill development.
8. Communicate effectively in speech and writing.
9. Use statistical software packages to summarize, analyse, and present statistical information.