• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies, Political Communication, Political Sciences, Political Economy, Politics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Matthew Kerby
    • Dr Svitlana Chernykh
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

This course asks students a basic question: how do you know what you know? Contemporary Political Analysis is a third-year course that is the capstone course of the Politics major. It draws together all the knowledge of politics and political analysis gained thus far in the major and propels students beyond what they know to an understanding of how they know it. The course is divided into three sections.  The first section introduces students to vocabulary, hypothesis building and research design. The second section focuses on qualitative methods. Students will learn how to conduct a brief elite interview, analyse documents and case studies, and design questionnaires and expert surveys.  The third section complements the first two sections by introducing students to basic descriptive and inferential quantitative methods. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain the complexity in issues of contemporary politics;
  2. Apply a range of methodological approaches by which to analyse such issues;
  3. Design a questionnaire and conduct an elite interview or an expert survey to investigate a political phenomenon; 
  4. Generate, explain and visualize descriptive statistics and basic inferential statistic for political phenomena using a statistical software package;
  5. Apply conceptual and analytical tools to a political phenomenon at a higher level of study or in a professional working environment.

Other Information


The ANU computer labs are equipped with STATA version 12. However, students may wish to optionally purchase a discounted student licence so they can install STATA on their own devices. Discounted student licences can be purchased directly from STATA at http://www.stata.com/order/new/edu/gradplans/student-pricing/
Please note that it might take a few days for the STATA license to arrive by email. The current version of STATA is version 13 is backward compatible with STATA 12.

Indicative Assessment

6 short assignments of 600-700 words each (10 % each for a total of 60%) [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]
5 “I get it” in-class quizzes of 5-10 minutes (2% each for a total of 10%) [LO 2, 4, 5]
Take-home final exam of 2000 words (30%) [LO 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course will run over 13 weeks. Each week requires 10 hours per week consisting of 2 hours of lectures,1 hour of tutorials and 7 hours of independent tutorial preparation, research and writing (total 130 hours).

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed POLS1002

Prescribed Texts

Paul Kellstedt and Guy Whitten. 2013. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Second edition. Cambridge University Press.

Preliminary Reading

Kyle Longest, 2015, Using Stata for Quantitative Methods, Second edition, Sage.

David M. Diez, Christopher D. Barr, and Mine Çetinkaya-Rundel, 2012, Open Statistics, Second edition. Online free copy available at https://www.openintro.org/stat/textbook.php



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $2604
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3576
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2663 20 Jul 2015 07 Aug 2015 31 Aug 2015 30 Oct 2015 In Person N/A

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