• Offered by School of Politics and International Relations
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Political Science
  • Areas of interest International Relations, Policy Studies, Political Sciences
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Svitlana Chernykh
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

This course introduces students to advanced methodological debates and research design in political science. Students will learn research skills to interpret and explain political processes, learning from scholarly literature on case selection and research methodologies and from research papers where various methodologies are applied. They will apply these skills to design their own research projects and present their research design papers at the end of the course.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. develop research questions and puzzles;
  2. define and measure political science concepts;
  3. critically analyse political arguments;
  4. evaluate advantages and disadvantages of different methodological approaches and identify threats to valid causal inference; and
  5. design research strategies for case and method selection to answer research questions.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Concepts and Measurement Assignment 1,000 words (15) [LO 2]
  2. Causal Analysis Assignment 1,500 words (20) [LO 3,4]
  3. Research Design Presentation, 10 minutes (15) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Research Design Paper 5,500 words (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  5. Class Participation (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 24 hours of seminars over 12 weeks

b) 106 hours of independent student research, reading and writing

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts


Preliminary Reading

Pearl, Judea and Dana Mackenzie. 2018. The Book of Why: The New Science of Cause and Effect. New York: Basic Book

King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sydney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton University Press

Freedman, David. 2009. Statistical Models and Causal Inference: A Dialog with Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press.

Angrist, David Joshua and Jorn-Steffen Pischke. 2014. Mastering Metrics: The Path from Cause to Effect. Princeton University Press.

Achen, Christopher H. 2002. “Toward a New Political Methodology: Microfoundations and ART.” Annual Review of Political Science 5: 423–450.

Brady, Henry, and David Collier. Eds. 2010. Rethinking Social Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. 2nd ed. Lanham, Md: Rowman and Littlefield.

Elkins, Zachary. 2000. “Gradations of Democracy? Empirical Tests of Alternative Conceptualizations.” American Journal of Political Science 44(2): 293–300.

Box-Steffensmeier, Janet, Henry E. Brady, and David Collier, eds., Oxford Handbook of Political Methodology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Goertz, Gary. 2006. Social Science Concepts: A User’s Guide. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Holland, Paul W. 1986. “Statistics and Causal Inference,” Journal of the American Statistical Association 81(396): 945–960.

Lieberman, Evan (2005). “Nested Analysis as a Mixed-Method Strategy for Comparative Research,” American Political Science Review 99(3): 435–452.

Geddes, Barbara. 2003. Paradigm and Sand Castles: Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics. University of Michigan Press

Fearon, James. 1991. “Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science,” World Politics 43 (2): 169-195

Dunning, Thad. 2012. “Natural Experiments in the Social Sciences: A Design-Based Approach. New York: Cambridge University Press. Pp. 208–232.

Mahoney, James, and Gary Goertz. 2006. “A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research,” Political Analysis 14(3): 227–249. 

Assumed Knowledge


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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

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
9659 27 Jul 2020 03 Aug 2020 31 Aug 2020 30 Oct 2020 In Person View

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