UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES)


SESS0034 Researching Politics and Society 

UCL Credits: 15

Total Learning Hours: 150

ECTS: 7.5

Level: Intermediate

Course Unit: 0.5

Term 2

Module Coordinator: Dr Ben Noble

Taught By: Dr Ben Noble, Dr Agnieszka Kubal, Dr Dogus Simsek, Dr Michal Murawski, Ms Marta Kotwas

To find out more about this module, please contact the Module Coordinator

Weekly Contact Hours: 2.0 (1 hour lecture and 1 hour tutorial per week)
Prerequisites: None
Compulsory Module for: Politics, Sociology and East European Studies; Politics, Sociology and East European Studies with a Year Abroad

Summative Assessment

Coursework Essay 2000 words (100%). This is a research project proposal -- usually the student's first ideas for their final-year dissertation.

Formative Assessment

500-word literature review and one of the following: managing a focus group; conducting a semi-structured interview; presenting a seminar about political polling.

Module Outline

The course seeks to provide a solid grounding in social science research methods, to develop skills in critiquing research methods used by other scholars, and to help students design a research project and write a final-year dissertation. Following a session on the building blocks of research, students will be introduced to a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, with opportunities to discuss their respective merits and to practise different skills (e.g. interviewing, conducting focus groups).


Sarah Halperin and Oliver Heath, Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (Oxford University Press).

Alan Bryman (December 2015) Social Research Methods (5th ed.) (Oxford University Press). The 4th (2012) edition is available as a Kindle book. Older editions remain helpful.

Keith F. Punch (2014) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches (London: Sage).

Preliminary reading

Marta Kempny (2012) ‘Rethinking Native Anthropology: Migration and Auto-Ethnography in the Post-Accession Europe’, International Review of Social Research, 2:2, pp. 39-52.

Sean P. Roberts (2013) ‘Research in challenging environments: the case of Russia's “managed democracy”, Qualitative Research 13: 3, pp. 337-51.

Ivor Sokolić (2016) ‘Researching norms, narratives, and transitional justice: focus group methodology in post-conflict Croatia’, Nationalities Papers, DOI:10.1080/00905992.2016.1183605. (When this reading list was compiled the article was published but had not yet been assigned to a specific volume and issue.)



Course Code



Full Year AffiliatesRegister for SESS0034As Above 7.5
Affiliates here for Terms 2 and 3 onlyRegister for SESS0034As Above 7.5

Please note: This outline is accurate at the time of publication. Minor amendments may be made prior to the start of the academic year.