Spring 2020 - POL 200W D100

Investigating Politics: Research Design and Qualitative Methods (4)

Class Number: 5214

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby



Introduces different aspects of research design in political science, as well as different qualitative research techniques and the epistemological perspectives that inform them. Introduces important analytical and conceptual skills necessary to understand and evaluate political science research. Students with credit for POL 200 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


This course is an introduction to research design and (mostly) qualitative data collection techniques for aspiring social scientists. Students will gain skills necessary to be both critical consumers and practitioners of social science research. The core learning objectives include: asking good research questions; defining and measuring concepts; developing and testing hypotheses; selecting a research design; choosing cases; and analyzing data. There is no final exam for this course.

There will be a 2-hour lecture and 2-hour tutorial each week. Tutorials start Week Two.


  • Tutorial participation 8%
  • In-class pop quizzes 8%
  • In-class test 24%
  • Three short written assignments 60%



Christopher Howard, Thinking Like a Political Scientist: A Practical Guide to Research Methods (University of Chicago Press, 2017)

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.
For details, see http://www.sfu.ca/politics/undergraduate/program/related_links.html and click on “Plagiarism and Intellectual Dishonesty” .

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html