GV4N1 Half Unit
Qualitative Analysis for Political Science
This information is for the 2023/24 session.
Dr Steffen Hertog
This course is available on the MRes/PhD in Political Science, MSc in Political Science (Conflict Studies and Comparative Politics) and MSc in Political Science (Global Politics). This course is not available as an outside option.
This course gives a practical overview of the major mainstream qualitative methods used in political science, including case studies and process-tracing, small-n comparisons, systematic case selection, and approaches for combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. It will be grounded in current debates about causal inference, how it can be achieved through qualitative methods, and how doing so is complementary to or rival to statistically based causal inference. Particular emphasis will be put on understanding how various authors apply various qualitative methods in practice (both implicitly and explicitly) and on how students can choose and deploy them in their own research projects. It will also discuss practical aspects of generating qualitative data through techniques such as interviews and archival research.
15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the AT.
There will be a reading week in Week 6 of the Autumn Term.
The course will involve two shorter formative assignments in AT (750 words each) that will:
a) critique the methods of a given research article or paper, allowing students to deepen and demonstrate their understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of different methods and the challenges in applying them in practice, and;
b) present a short mock research design addressing a research question of the their own choosing (subject to seminar teacher approval).
- Henry E Brady and David Collier, Rethinking Social Inquiry Diverse Tools, Shared Standards (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2010).
- John Gerring, Case Study Research: Principles and Practices (Cambridge University Press, 2007).
- Gary Goertz and James Mahoney, A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences (Princeton University Press, 2012).
- Tasha Fairfield and Andrew E. Charman, “Explicit Bayesian Analysis for Process Tracing: Guidelines, Opportunities, and Caveats,” Political Analysis 25, no. 3 (July 2017): 363-380.
- Nina Tannenwald, “The Nuclear Taboo: The United States and the Normative Basis of Nuclear Non-Use,” International Organization 53, no. 3 (Summer, 1999), pp. 433-468.
- Anthony W. Marx, “Race-Making and the Nation-State,” World Politics 48, no. 2 (1996): 180–208.
Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the January exam period.
Essay (50%, 2000 words) in the WT.
The summative assignments will consist of a 2000 word in-depth review of a published piece of research (due in early WT, 50%) and an exam (January, 50%) in which students will demonstrate the breadth of their knowledge of qualitative methods.
Total students 2022/23: Unavailable
Average class size 2022/23: Unavailable
Controlled access 2022/23: No
Value: Half Unit
Course selection videos
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Personal development skills
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