• Class Number 6128
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Matthew Kerby
    • Dr Matthew Kerby
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
SELT Survey Results

Contemporary Political Analysis provides students with a continuation of the principles of social science research design and empirical analysis that they were exposed to in their first year courses. The course begins with a review of the role of research design, method and methodology in the social sciences that draws on examples from both qualitative and quantitative political science and international relations. This discussion is complemented with an introduction to applied data analytics using a statistical software package. The skills, ways of thinking and techniques learned in this course will provide the necessary foundation for the more advanced application of social science research methodology used in the public and private sectors as well as the honours and graduate levels of study.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. explain the complexity of contemporary politics from the perspective of solid research design and empirical analysis;
  2. apply a range of methodological approaches by which to analyse such issues;
  3. generate, explain, and visualise descriptive statistics and basic inferential statistics for political phenomena using a statistical software package; and
  4. apply conceptual and analytical tools to a political phenomenon at a higher level of study or in a professional working environment.

Research-Led Teaching

The ANU is committeed to teaching and training students through a process called research-led teaching. Amongst other things, this apporach involves convenors using their own research and research experience as a pedagogical tool when teaching students. Consequently, I will use examples, datasets, and code from my own research on political elites to demonstrate many of the concepts and procedures covered in this course. Further details pertaining to research-led teaching in general, and at the ANU can be found in the links below.



Additional Course Costs

We will use the Stata 16 statistical software package to conduct our analyses. Stata 16 is available on campus in computer labs, and on the ANU Virtual Information Commons. Students who are interested is using a local copy of Stata on their own device can purchase a six month "basic edition" student license from Stata,com. Note that Stata recently updated to Stata 17. Students can use Stata 17, or Stata 15 in POLS2044 without any hindrance.

Required Resources

There is one required textbook for this course: Paul M. Kellstedt and Guy D. Whitten, 2018, The Fundamentals of Political Science Research, Cambridge University Press, 3rd edition.

The Stata website and Stata youtube channel are particularly useful resources for new Stata users. For those who prefer the comfort of the printed page, I recommend Alan Alcock, 2018, A Gentle Introduction to Stata, Stata Press, 6th edition.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Detailed comments on their assignment
  • Shorter written feedback will be provided for the quizzes in the form of a marking keys (correct answers)
  • Final exams are not returned to students
  • Students will also have the opportunity to discuss their assignments during tutorials
  • Students are welcome to discuss any assignments with the Convenors or Tutor during office hours

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information

The information provided is a preliminary Class Outline. A finalised version will be available on Wattle and will be accessible after enrolling in this course. All updates, changes and further information will be uploaded on the course Wattle site and will not be updated on Programs and Courses throughout the semester. Any questions or concerns should be directed to the Course Convenor.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Welcome and introduction
2 Vocabulary and research design
3 Central tendency
4 Dispersion
5 Area under the curve and the empirical rule Assessment 1 due
6 Probability and inference
7 Bivariate hypothesis testing
8 Correlation and bivariate regression
9 Multiple regression
10 Robustness checks Assessment 2 due
11 Logistic Regression
12 Wrap up and exam review

Tutorial Registration

Students can register for tutorials/labs on Wattle in Week 01.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Descriptive Statistics 25 % 27/08/2021 10/09/2021 2, 3
Inferential Statistics 25 % 15/10/2021 29/10/2021 2, 3
Tutorial/Lab 10 % * * 2, 3
Final Exam, 40 % * * 1, 2, 3, 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.


The course includes a final exam that will be written during the exam period. It will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the course and will include data analysis.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 27/08/2021
Return of Assessment: 10/09/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

Descriptive Statistics

Students will demonstrate their ability to formulate a research question, testable hypotheses, and conduct a descriptive statistical analysis with visualizations using Stata.

Assessment Rubrics

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: Submitted via Turnitin

Estimated return date: 2021-09-10

Assessment Task 2

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 15/10/2021
Return of Assessment: 29/10/2021
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3

Inferential Statistics

Students will demonstrate their ability to conduct basic inferential statistical analyses (e.g. bivariate hypothesis testing, bivariate and multiple regression) using Stata.

Assessment Rubrics

Value: 25%

Presentation requirements: Submitted via Turnitin

Estimated return date: 2021-10-29

Assessment Task 3

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 2, 3


Students will attend weekly tutorial/lab and engage with that week's course materials using Stata.

Assessment Rubrics

Value: 10%

Presentation requirements: Submitted via Turnitin

Estimated return date:

Assessment Task 4

Value: 40 %
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4

Final Exam,

The course includes a final exam that will be written during the exam period. It will test students’ knowledge and understanding of the course content and will include data analysis.

Value: 40%

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle. The final exam will not be returned. 

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

Assignments may not be resubmitted. 

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Matthew Kerby
6125 1806

Research Interests

political elites, political careers, cabinet ministers, political executives

Dr Matthew Kerby

Thursday 10:00 12:00
Thursday 10:00 12:00
Dr Matthew Kerby
6125 1806

Research Interests

Dr Matthew Kerby

Thursday 10:00 12:00
Thursday 10:00 12:00

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