GV342L      Half Unit
Philosophy, Politics and Economics: Research Project

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Rafael Hortala-Vallve


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.

This course is exclusively for fourth year BSc PPE students.

Course content

The focus of the course is on the production of an individual academic paper and poster presentation. This is your chance to choose a topic of your interest and use what you’ve learnt in the last three years into what interests you most. You will be encouraged to develop an interdisciplinary research question.

The initial weeks in Lent Term will be focused on outlining your research plans. Group feedback and individual feedback sessions will take place regularly throughout term. The aim of this course is not only to produce a written piece of research but to also summarise your research in a poster and be able to present it in an informal setting.


2 hour introductory session in week 11 MT. 2 hour introductory session on research methods in week 1 LT. 6 hours of seminars in the LT. 3 hours of workshops in the ST.

The course is structured around an initial presentation and various group and individual feedback sessions. In week 11 of MT we’ll have a two-hour introductory session. During this session we’ll establish the goals of the course and you will then have the Christmas break to think about the topic you want to work on in the LT. There will be an initial introductory session in week 1 of the LT to give you some guidance on the different research methods that are at your disposal. There will be group feedback sessions in weeks 2, 5, 8 and 11. These seminars / workshops will be supplemented with regular individual feedback sessions.

Formative coursework

Students must prepare a draft outline synopsis for their individual project by Thursday of Week 1 Lent Term, and present on it in a seminar in Week 2. Students must then present a detailed account of their progress in weeks 5, 8 and 11.

Indicative reading

On writing:

  • Inger Furseth, Euris Everett and Larry Everett, Doing Your Master's Dissertation: From Start to Finish (Sage Study Skills Series, 2013);
  • Stella Cottrell, Dissertations and Project Reports: A Step by Step Guide (Palgrave Study Skills, 2014);
  • Diana Ridley, The Literature Review: A Step-by-Step Guide for Students (SAGE Study Skills Series, 2008);
  • Christopher Hart, Doing a Literature Review (SAGE Study Skills Series, 2018);
  • Sharon M. Ravitch and J. Matthew Riggan, Reason and Rigor: How Conceptual Frameworks Guide Research (2nd edition, Sage Publications, 2016).

On research:

  • Catherine Hakim, Research Design: Successful Designs for Social Economics Research, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2000);
  • Joseph A. Maxwell, Qualitative Research Design (3rd edition, Sage, 2013);
  • Alan Bryman, Social Research Methods, 5th ed. (Oxford University Press, 2015);
  • David Partington, Essential Skills for Management Research (Sage Publications, 2002).

A list of readings will be made available on Moodle.


Report (80%) and presentation (20%) in the ST Week 1.

There are two pieces of assessment. A final report (max 5,000 words) that counts towards 80% of the final mark, and a short video presentation on your key conclusions that counts towards 20% of the final mark. Both elements will have to be submitted by Week 1 of ST.

You will be invited to present your findings on a poster presentation during the GV342 Summer Capstone Showcase.

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2021/22: 44

Average class size 2021/22: 12

Capped 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

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.

Personal development skills

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