First cycle
degree courses
Second cycle
degree courses
Single cycle
degree courses
School of Economics and Political Science
Course unit
EPP9086051, A.A. 2019/20

Information concerning the students who enrolled in A.Y. 2019/20

Information on the course unit
Degree course Second cycle degree in
EP2444, Degree course structure A.Y. 2018/19, A.Y. 2019/20
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Degree course track Common track
Number of ECTS credits allocated 6.0
Type of assessment Mark
Course unit English denomination SOCIAL AND POLITICAL RESEARCH METHODS
Department of reference Department of Political Science, Law, and International Studies
Mandatory attendance No
Language of instruction English
Single Course unit The Course unit can be attended under the option Single Course unit attendance
Optional Course unit The Course unit can be chosen as Optional Course unit

Teacher in charge MATTEO BASSOLI SPS/04

ECTS: details
Type Scientific-Disciplinary Sector Credits allocated
Core courses SPS/04 Polticial Science 6.0

Course unit organization
Period First semester
Year 1st Year
Teaching method frontal

Type of hours Credits Teaching
Hours of
Individual study
Lecture 6.0 45 105.0 No turn

Start of activities 01/10/2019
End of activities 18/01/2020
Show course schedule 2019/20 Reg.2018 course timetable

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of social science research methods.
Target skills and knowledge: The main objective of the course is to provide students with a set of conceptual and methodological tools to understand political and social science research. By the end of the course students will be able to:
1. Use the relevant vocabulary of methodology and political research
2. Have a broad understanding of the techniques they can apply in their own research (e.g. degree thesis, master thesis)
3. Be aware of the main problems related to qualitative vs. quantitative research
4. Analyse with a comparative approach the various aspects of social and political research
5. Contextually demonstrate awareness and knowledge of the main methodological approaches to political and social science research and their contribution to the analysis of data.
6. Apply analytical skills in using theory and case studies to better understand contemporary politics and social phenomena
7. Demonstrate an enhanced capacity to act successfully (with reliability, commitment, integrity, etc.) in a working environment
8. Improve writing skills enhancing own chances of academic and professional success (i.e. do better in studies and achieve higher levels of satisfaction).
9. Improve oral skills and the capacity of team-working
10. Communicate their ideas in a well-organized, well-expressed manner appropriate to the discipline concerned.
Examination methods: The course will be based on active learning. For those attending classes, integral components for the course evaluation are:
- Participation in class, also through collaborative work and group work;
- Individual reading and writing assignments that assess students’ understanding and capacity to critically rethink the course contents.
- Written final exam

For those not attending classes, components for the course evaluation are only:
- Individual reading and writing assignments that assess students’ understanding and capacity to critically rethink the course contents.
- Written final exam
Assessment criteria: For those attending classes, the assessment methods will take into consideration
- class participation
- knowledge
- writing capacities.
The grade breakdown is as follows:
Class participation: 2 points (top-up of the final grade)
Individual written assignment: 40%
Final exam: 60%

For those not attending classes, the assessment methods will take into consideration
- knowledge
- writing capacities.
The grade breakdown is as follows:
Individual written assignment: 40%
Final exam: 60%

The written assignment (paper) will have to be 3,500 words long.
Active participation will be assessed during class activities:
- Assignments will pertain to the readings and method for that week and, as a general rule, they will ask students to provide illustrations of how they might apply the principles of research design and various methods discussed that week to the political/social issue.
- Students will work individually as well as in a group and should come to class prepared to discuss and critique the assignments/readings for that seminar.
- Quizzes and peer evaluations will be constantly used and monitored
Course unit contents: This course will focus on social and political data analysis.
The main important methods and techniques of data collection (and analysis) in social research will be addressed. Many important questions in political science cannot be addressed with quantitative methods. Often times, scholars cannot rely on suitable statistical data to answer their research questions. Moreover, the limited resources of individual researchers frequently preclude the collection of a sufficient number of empirical observations required for statistical analysis. Therefore, qualitative methods of data collection and analysis are an important part of everyday research in our field. For this reason, half of the course will be dedicated to these methods, while the other half will focus on the quantitative approach.
In the first part of the course, the two paradigms of ‘positivism’ and ‘interpretivism’ will be presented, from an ontological and an epistemological point of view.
Then, different aspects of the first approach will be presented: Causality and Experimentation, The Survey, Official Statistics and SNA.
In the second part, we will discuss the most important qualitative techniques of data collection are addressed (interviews, document and text analysis, etc).
The seminar concludes with a session on the triangulation of different methods and ethical issues.
Planned learning activities and teaching methods: The course will be based on active learning.
Therefore the lecture will be split in: lecturing, individual activity, group activity and discussion.
Assignments may consist in short problem sets with practical exercises (e.g. solve a practical methodological exercise related to your own research-for example writing the contact-letter for interviews- explain the results and discuss ideas with the rest of the class). The required length of each activity will vary and will be communicated each time by the instructor.
Additional notes about suggested reading: Coursepack could be changed during the year.

Bassoli, M., Monticelli, L., 2018. What about the welfare state? exploring precarious youth political participation in the age of grievances. Acta Politica 53, 204–230.
Borgatti, S.P., Molina, J.-L., 2005. Toward ethical guidelines for network research in organizations. Social Networks 27, 107–117.
Dershem, L., Dagargulia, T., Saganelidze, L., Roels, S., 2011. NGO Network Analysis Handbook: how to measure and map linkages between NGOs. Save the Children. Tbilisi, Georgia. NGO Network Analysis Handbook–Save the Children 3, 3.
Gay Y Blasco, P., De La Cruz Hernández, L., 2012. Friendship, Anthropology: Friendship, Anthropology. Anthropology and Humanism 37, 1–14.
Hafner-Burton, E.M., Kahler, M., Montgomery, A.H., 2009. Network Analysis for International Relations. International Organization 63, 559.
Heather Tidrick, 2010. “Gadžology” as Activism: What I Would Have Ethnography Do for East European Roma. Collaborative Anthropologies 3, 121–131.
Knox, H., Savage, M., Harvey, P., 2006. Social networks and the study of relations: networks as method, metaphor and form. Economy and Society 35, 113–140.
Rooduijn, M., 2018. What unites the voter bases of populist parties? Comparing the electorates of 15 populist parties. European Political Science Review 10, 351–368.
Rooduijn, M., de Lange, S.L., van der Brug, W., 2014. A populist Zeitgeist? Programmatic contagion by populist parties in Western Europe. Party Politics 20, 563–575.
Rooduijn, M., van der Brug, W., de Lange, S.L., 2016. Expressing or fuelling discontent? The relationship between populist voting and political discontent. Electoral Studies 43, 32–40.
Rooduijn, M., Van der Brug, W., De Lange, S.L., Parlevliet, J., 2017. Persuasive Populism? Estimating the Effect of Populist Messages on Political Cynicism. Politics and Governance 5, 136.
Textbooks (and optional supplementary readings)

Innovative teaching methods: Teaching and learning strategies
  • Lecturing
  • Interactive lecturing
  • Working in group
  • Questioning
  • Flipped classroom
  • Peer assessment
  • Loading of files and pages (web pages, Moodle, ...)

Innovative teaching methods: Software or applications used
  • Moodle (files, quizzes, workshops, ...)
  • Top Hat (active quiz, quiz)

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Quality Education Gender Equality Reduced Inequalities Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions