Spring 2021 - POL 200W J100

Investigating Politics: Research Design and Qualitative Methods (4)

Class Number: 4903

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM



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.


Course Overview:

Empirical analysis is a common and necessary part of doing research in political science. It can be done quantitatively or qualitatively. In this course, we will:

  • Learn various aspects of research design and how to correctly do it
  • Explore a variety of tools and techniques commonly used in political science research
  • Develop analytical skills that are an integral part of doing research in political science

Course Format:

This course combines asynchronous lecture material with synchronous tutorial discussion.

Every week, recorded lectures will be posted on YouTube (with the links posted on Canvas). Students are expected to watch these videos on a weekly basis. Tutorials will be synchronous through Zoom.


  • Midterm 1 20%
  • Midterm 2 20%
  • 2 qualitative research assignments 60%


There is no final exam for this course as students are expected to work on a lengthy written assignment at the end of the semester.



There is no required textbook for this course.

Chapters and articles will be posted on Canvas throughout the semester. These readings are required.

Department Undergraduate Notes:

The Department of Political Science strictly enforces a policy on plagiarism.

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


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).