Module Details

GV200-5-FY-CO: Political Analysis

Note: This module is inactive. Visit the Module Directory to view modules and variants offered during the current academic year.

Year: 2017/18
Department: Government
Essex credit: 30
ECTS credit: 15
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: Yes

Supervisor: Professor Robert Johns
Teaching Staff: Dr Rob Johns and teaching assistants
Contact details: Course Administrator Sallyann West email

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

The aim of the course is to empower you so that you are confident in interpreting and handling relatively simple statistical data. The theme of the course is to get you to ask of any study:
whats your model? and
how would you know if you were wrong?
We start with epistemology because you need to understand the critical importance of using (appropriate) empirical evidence to evaluate explanatory (theoretical) claims. We teach you basic statistics because this is the standard method of handling large amounts of evidence in order to evaluate explanatory claims. We try to give you both a conceptual understanding of the statistical techniques and practical experience in actually conducting statistical analysis. This is because practical experience helps you to develop a proper understanding of the concepts themselves
By the end of the course, students should:

be able to understand empirical research papers that use common statistical techniques
have sound elementary statistical skills, including the use of SPSS
understand why it is important to confront theoretical claims with empirical evidence
be familiar with the language associated with research techniques
be able to design limited empirical research projects

Learning and Teaching Methods

weekly 2 hour lecture and 1 hour class


50 per cent Coursework Mark, 50 per cent Exam Mark


essay 30%, test 20%, essay 30%, test 20%

Exam Duration and Period

3:00 during Summer Examination period.

Other information

Compulsory for:
2nd Year students in: BA Politics; BA Economics and Government; and BA Politics and International Relations, BA Democratic Politics and BA European Politics


  • Halperin, S and Heath, O. (2012) Political Research. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  • Kellstedt, P.M., and G.D. Whitten (2009). The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Further information