• Class Number 2669
  • Term Code 3330
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 12 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Jill Sheppard
    • Dr Jill Sheppard
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 20/02/2023
  • Class End Date 26/05/2023
  • Census Date 31/03/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 27/02/2023
SELT Survey Results

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.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Asking questions about politics Meet your Honours cohort, discuss your plans for the honours year, and become acquainted with research questions and conducting your own research project
2 Theories, concepts, and measures Turning a question or intuition into something that we can study (in approximately eight months)
3 Research design Designing a research project based on your theories and concepts, and preparing logistics (ethics, fieldwork etc)
4 Relationships, description, and causation Defining relationships of interest, and considering the difference between describing a relationship and attributing causation
5 Quantitative methods: choosing methods Learning to identify, select, and interpret statistical analyses of quantitative data
6 Quantitative methods: surveys and sampling large populations Making inferences about large populations
7 Qualitative methods: Case studies, process tracing and interviews Three common methods of generating and analysing robust qualitative data
8 Data collection and ethics considerations Ethical and moral considerations when collecting, storing, and analysing primary data in political science
9 Student presentations
10 Student presentations
11 Student presentations
12 Student presentations

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Concepts and measurement 15 % 15/03/2023 25/03/2023 2,3
Understanding relationships 15 % 29/03/2023 12/04/2023 4
Research design presentation 15 % * * 3,5
Class participation 15 % * * 2,3,5
Research design paper 40 % 31/05/2023 * 5

* 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 Integrity 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 Academic Skills website. In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 15/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 25/03/2023
Learning Outcomes: 2,3

Concepts and measurement

This assessment encourages students to understand and explain the differences between concepts, measures, and variables, and the importance of 'explaining your terms' in both empirical and critical research. Students are required to submit a 1000-word paper on the concepts, measures and variables relevant to their honours research topic, with reference to political science theory and literature.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 29/03/2023
Return of Assessment: 12/04/2023
Learning Outcomes: 4

Understanding relationships

Take your concepts, methods and variables from Assessment 1, and turn them into a hypothetical model of the world. Identify your key independent variable, other possible variables (i.e. other plausible factors that affect your dependent variable), and your dependent variable. Indicate potential variance on each of your variables, and begin to hypothesise possible relationships. The description should be critical with regard to both confounding factors and the respective roles of structure and agency.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 3,5

Research design presentation

In a short oral presentation, outline your research question, the concepts you plan to study, the measures and variables you will use, and how you will conduct your primary research. This assessment also serves as practice for the formal presentation required for students enrolled in BPols(Honours), BIR(Honours), or BPPE(Honours).

Assessment Task 4

Value: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 2,3,5

Class participation

As students move from regular undergraduate courses to honours courses, the value of class participation increases substantially. This course expects students to create and participate in a cohort of honours students, helping to develop each other's research interests while learning to be constructively critical. Engaging in academic research networks (including with fellow students, but also extending to attendance at research seminars and consultation with academics) is a vital part of the Honours process, and this assessment formalises this engagement.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 40 %
Due Date: 31/05/2023
Learning Outcomes: 5

Research design paper

This assessment forms the core of a student's honours project. In 4000 words, students are required to outline their research question, the literature that underpins that question, the hypotheses arising from that literature, and an outline of the data and methods that will test that hypothesis. In the case of non-empirical research, the research design will map existing critical and empirical literatures, and explain and justify how the Honours project advances our understanding.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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) submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

Hardcopy submission is not required in this course.

Late Submission

Individual assessment tasks may or may not allow for late submission. Policy regarding late submission is detailed below:

  • Late submission permitted. 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.

Referencing Requirements

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. Extensions may be granted 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.

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 Jill Sheppard

Research Interests

Elections, voting, public opinion, Australian politics

Dr Jill Sheppard

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Jill Sheppard

Research Interests

Dr Jill Sheppard

By Appointment
By Appointment

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