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Unit information: Investigating Society (Politics) in 2021/22

Unit name Investigating Society (Politics)
Unit code POLI20019
Credit points 20
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Oksanen
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit aims to introduce students to a wide range of issues of concern to social researchers and will give an overview of some of the different kinds of empirical research methods that are available to social scientists. It aims to give students some initial experience of planning and carrying out research, and to alert them to the problems that arise in the generation, interpretation and evaluation of evidence. The unit covers a range of qualitative methods including observation and interviewing, and quantitative methods, such as survey research.


  • To provide an overview of the range of research methods available to Politics students;
  • To introduce students to practical research skills as a basis for future learning (including post-University);
  • To provide sufficient knowledge for students to select appropriate research methods for particular projects, especially their dissertation.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically discuss the issues involved in the generation, interpretation and evaluation of evidence
  2. Critically evaluate appropriate literatures
  3. Successfully employ techniques appropriate to small-scale research
  4. Interpret basic quantitative and qualitative research data
  5. Effectively disseminate research findings

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through blended learning methods, including a mix of synchronous and asynchronous teaching activities

Assessment Information

Summative assessment 1 (25% weighting): literature review (1500 words) (ILO2)

Summative assessment 2 (75% weighting): report of research findings (3000 words) (ILOs 1-5)


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. POLI20019).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.