• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Specialist
  • Course subject Policy and Governance
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2017
    See Future Offerings

“If you could learn only one thing in graduate school, it should be how to do scholarly research” (Garry King)
The primary purpose of this class is to make you a sophisticated consumer of diverse empirical research as well as enable you to become a producer of advanced work in the social sciences. Specifically, this means you should be able to locate, evaluate and critique methodological approaches across the social sciences, as well as identify interesting questions, formulate strategies for answering them, have the methodological tools with which to conduct the research, and understand how to translate these findings into work that can be published.
With an emphasis on how to approach political/policy science research, the class is structured in the following manner. We will begin with a brief introduction to the research process and its basis in the philosophy of science before moving on to aspects of concept formation (positivist and constructivist) and its operationalization. We then look at aspects of causal inference – a critical aspect of empirical research – before turning attention to approaches and techniques for data collection and analysis – from both, qualitative, quantitative and observational perspectives. The class ends with an outlook to the methodological frontier (i.e. mixed methods, causal process observation, field experiments) and the practicalities of writing and presenting your research.
This is a demanding class but one that should reward you handsomely – from academic and practical perspectives - in your future endeavours as long as you do the assigned readings, exercises and participate actively in class.
Please note:
• If you intend to take POGO8035 Research Project (6 units) in Semester 2, you must take POGO8096 (6 units) or an equivalent course on research methods.
• Students taking this course should not expect that they can master statistical methods and software by taking this course. Those who intend to use statistics should take, at least, one additional course on statistics or econometrics offered elsewhere.

Learning Outcomes

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

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
• define and explain a variety of approaches to research in social sciences (L1);
• demonstrate a basic knowledge of commonly used methodological tools in empirical research, including surveys, interviews, content analysis, case selection and comparison, and basic statistical methods (L2);
• appraise strengths and weaknesses of existing methodological approaches, including: assess conditions under which one can properly apply tools of measurement and systematic ways  to make inferences and interpret data (L3); and
• formulate research questions, develop arguments and choose proper research design in its support (L4).

Other Information

Delivery Mode:

Weekly lectures. All lecture notes (PowerPoint slides) and audio recordings will be uploaded to Wattle after each lecture.

Indicative Assessment

 60% Short notes (Learning outcomes #1 - #6).

 40% In-class test (Learning outcomes #1 - #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.


Weekly lectures (2.5 hours x 13 weeks).

3-5 hours per week for reading and preparation outside of contact hours to complete the course

Prescribed Texts

Shively, W. Phillips. 2009. The Craft of Political Research. Seventh Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Preliminary Reading

To be distributed.

Assumed Knowledge

This course does not assume that students have prior knowledge of statistics.


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
2017 $3660
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2017 $4878
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.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4641 20 Feb 2017 27 Feb 2017 31 Mar 2017 26 May 2017 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions