Not available in 2017/18
Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Capstone and Research Project

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Martin Lodge con308


This course is compulsory on the BSc in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. This course is not available as an outside option nor to General Course students.

Exclusive for fourth year BSc PPE students.


This course will be available exclusively for 4th-year PPE students.

Course content

The course introduces students to team-based and individual research work. The MT will focus on the capstone project. The initial three weeks of the course will introduce students to the requirements of capstone projects, key research strategies and essential questions. During weeks four to nine, they will be required to research, as part of small teams, problems in public and private sector organisations. The completed research has to be presented to fellow students (and the client organisations) both in form of a presentation as well as a research report.

In the LT, the focus shifts to the production of an individual academic paper. Students will be encouraged to develop an interdisciplinary research question and to complete a research paper and a poster on the conclusions of the paper by the end of the LT. The initial weeks' seminars during the LT will be focused on key questions for research design, with the following weeks focusing more on individual consultation and feedback sessions.


7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars and 9 hours of help sessions in the MT. 7 hours and 30 minutes of seminars and 9 hours of help sessions in the LT. 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

The seminars will introduce the key issues and demands on the students. The help sessions will operate on the basis of feed-back and consultation sessions to support students' research efforts. The ST session will involve a 'poster exhibition' that allows all students to exhibit and discuss their research projects.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 presentation in the MT and 1 presentation and 1 essay in the LT.

The team and the individual research efforts will be supported during the help sessions. To support the development of presentational skills, students are required to prepare a draft presentation and will receive feedback in the MT. Equally, students will be required to prepare a poster outlining their research for week 4 in the LT. This will help the development of the research ideas, but also provide for feedback on the intended research and the design of posters more generally. They will also be asked to provide for a draft paper outline in week 9 to receive additional feedback.

Indicative reading

Charles E. Lindblom and David K. Cohen, Social Science and Social Problem Solving (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1979;

Martha S. Feldman, Order Without Design: Information Production and Policy-making (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1989);

Ray Pawson, Evidence-based Policy: A Realist Perspective (London: Sage, 2006);

C. R. Cook, Just Enough Project Management (McGraw-Hill, 2004);

J. E. McGrath and F. Tschan, Dynamics in Groups and Teams: Groups as Complex Action Systems, chapter three in M. S. Poole and A. H. Van de Ven (eds) Handbook of Organizational Change and Innovation (Oxford University Press, 2004).

An extensive list of readings will be made available on Moodle.


Project (30%, 5000 words) and presentation (20%) in the MT.
Presentation (20%) and research project (30%) in the LT.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Capped 2016/17: No

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills