GV330      Half Unit
Data Science Applications to Politics Research

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Melissa Sands


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


Students must have completed Introduction to Political Science (GV101) and Research Design in Political Science (GV249).

Course content

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the latest empirical research using big data in political science. This course will cover different applications of big data in political science. For each, students will be introduced to the type of questions that each type of data can help answer and learn to apply the methods needed to analyse each type of data.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 problem sets in the LT.

Indicative reading

Brady, Henry E. "The challenge of big data and data science." Annual Review of Political Science 22 (2019): 297-323.

Gohdes, Anita R. "Repression technology: Internet accessibility and state violence." American Journal of Political Science (2020).

King, Gary, Jennifer Pan, and Margaret E. Roberts. "How censorship in China allows government criticism but silences collective expression." American Political Science Review 107, no. 2 (2013): 326-343.

Krupenkin, Masha. "Does partisanship affect compliance with government recommendations?." Political behavior 43, no. 1 (2021): 451-472.

Titiunik, Rocío. "Can big data solve the fundamental problem of causal inference?." PS: Political Science & Politics 48, no. 1 (2015): 75-79.


Coursework (80%) in the ST.
Problem sets (20%) in the LT.

The coursework would comprise a replication exercise, where students would replicate and extend the analysis of one paper of their choice, discussed in class.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2020/21: Unavailable

Average class size 2020/21: Unavailable

Capped 2020/21: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Problem solving
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills