Spring 2022 - POL 200W D100

Investigating Politics: Research Design and Qualitative Methods (4)

Class Number: 5054

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 3150, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 18, 2022
    11:59 PM – 11:59 PM
    TAKE HOME-EXAM, 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 introduces students to the foundations of empirical research in political science. While much of the course deals with knowledge and skill building that are applicable to both quantitative and qualitative research, the focus will be on qualitative methodologies.

Over the course of the semester students will learn and apply core concepts and research methodologies from distinct approaches to social science research. The first half of the course will develop fundamental social science research concepts, while the second half will introduce students to various types of data collection and analysis, including historical and comparative case studies, textual analysis, process tracing, and interview and ethnographic research.

The course will help students become effective critical consumers and practitioners of social science research. By the end of the semester, students will be able to both read, understand and critique qualitative political science research, and to plan and undertake their own research projects employing a variety of qualitative research methods. They will also learn to summarize their conclusions effectively in written format.


  • Participation 10%
  • 3 Written assignments, each worth 20% 60%
  • Final project 30%



Christopher Howard, Thinking Like a Political Scientist (University of Chicago Press, 2017)  ISBN: 022632768X

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 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.