BA Spanish and Chinese / Course details

Year of entry: 2020

Course unit details:
Introduction to Comparative Politics

Unit code POLI10201
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 1
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Politics
Available as a free choice unit? Yes

Overview

This course introduces students to key concepts and debates within comparative politics. The first part of the course will compare democracies and non-democracies as well as why regimes transition between the two. The course will also focus on institutional arrangements within democracies, including parliamentary and presidential systems, majoritarianism and consensus democracies, and different types of electoral systems. Students will understand the differences between these types of institutional arrangements, as well as their likely outcomes in a number of spheres. 

Aims

POLI10201 Introduction to Comparative Politics provides a foundation for the study of comparative politics. It aims to introduce students to the comparative method, the role of government, and the variety of institutional forms that are common in modern states. Using examples from a variety of countries, students encounter different regime and institution types. They will achieve this by analysing comparative politics research evidence (including quantitative material), and by using examples of these from multiple different countries and regions of the world. 

Learning outcomes

·         Learn some of the basic research tools of political studies, such as conceptual analysis, comparison over time and space, causal explanation (i.e. what happens), and normative evaluation (i.e. whether what happens is good or bad);

·         Learn some of the characteristics of major institutional forms common in modern states, such as varieties of democracies, electoral systems, legislature, executives, judiciaries, democracies and dictatorships;

·         Develop a critical awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of these institutional forms;

·         Develop an awareness and familiarity with substantive material in comparative politics which uses quantitative methods;

·         Analyse political institutions, procedures and behaviour across a number of different democratic and non-democratic countries.

·         Develop the ability to communicate ideas in writing and verbally.

Teaching and learning methods

Weekly Lectures & Tutorials

Knowledge and understanding

Learn some of the characteristics of major institutional forms common in modern states, such as varieties of democracies, electoral systems, legislatures, and executives, as well as the main features of democracies and non-democracies.

Develop a critical awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of these institutional forms.

Develop an awareness and familiarity with substantive material in comparative politics which uses quantitative methods 

Intellectual skills

Learn some of the basic research tools of political studies, such as conceptual analysis, comparison over time and space, causal explanation (i.e. what happens), and normative evaluation (i.e. whether what happens is good or bad).

Analyse political institutions, procedures and behaviour across a number of different democratic and non-democratic countries. 

Practical skills

Practice skills of verbal argumentation and persuasion. 

Demonstrate the ability to manage own time to meet multiple deadlines and complete a sustained period of work. 

Transferable skills and personal qualities

Develop the ability to communicate ideas in writing and verbally.

Develop the ability to critically evaluate both theoretical arguments and empirical evidence. 

Engage in critical self-reflection and an awareness of other alternative points of view.  

Assessment methods

One 2000 word essay worth 40% of the mark

One 2 hour examination in January worth 50% of the mark

Participation, worth 10% of the mark

Feedback methods

Politics staff will provide feedback on written work within 15 working days of submission.

Students should be aware that all marks are provisional until confirmed by the external examiner and the final examinations boards in June.

For modules that do not have examination components the marks and feedback for the final assessed component are not subject to the 15 working day rule and will be released with the examination results.

You will receive feedback on assessed essays in a standard format. This will rate your essay in terms of various aspects of the argument that you have presented your use of sources and the quality of the style and presentation of the essay. If you have any queries about the feedback that you have received you should make an appointment to see your tutor.

On assessments submitted through Turnitin you will receive feedback via Blackboard. This will include suggestions about ways in which you could improve your work in future. You will also receive feedback on non-assessed coursework, whether this is individual or group work. This may be of a more informal kind and may include feedback from peers as well as academic staff

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Assessment written exam 20
Lectures 20
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rosalind Shorrocks Unit coordinator
Nicole Martin Unit coordinator

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