Undergraduate Module Descriptor

POL3288: Political Science and the Real World

This module descriptor refers to the 2022/3 academic year.

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:

-How to measure causal effects of interventions and policy solutions

-The ethics and morality of field experiments that test at scale

-Reading studies that examine interventions designed to address some of the following (specific topics may vary)

  • Spurring economic growth and development, particularly in getting people out of poverty
  • Increasing voter turnout and other forms of political participation
  • Increasing interpersonal understanding about contentious topics
  • Reducing online incivility and abuse
  • Reducing political corruption
  • Increasing pro-social behaviours
  • Additional topics as chosen by module students

-Learning how to interpret results from quantitative studies

How the “fundamentals” (such as economic performance and how long the incumbent party has been in power) help explain election outcomes

-How electoral rules shape electoral outcomes (e.g., “Duverger’s Law” in first past the post single member district system versus proportional representation systems)

-Whether or not campaigns have an effect on election outcomes/the effect of campaign activities on

-Competing theories of voting behaviour

-The role that scandal plays in affecting the electoral prospects of parties and candidates

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 activity4020 X 2-hour seminars
Guided independent study260A variety of private study tasks directed by module leader. These tasks may include: • Reading assignments • Preparing assessments • Following political news events

Online Resources

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