Statistics and Methods in Politics and International Relations

Course Material 2024/25

This paper introduces students to statistical methods used in the social sciences, illustrates how these methods can be used to study important issues in the study of politics and international relations, and gives students hands-on experience on using these methods and writing up the results of empirical research.

The first part of the course introduces students to a variety of statistical concepts and methods – issues covered include descriptive statistics, bivariate association, multivariate linear regression, logistic regression and multilevel regression. These methods are illustrated through examples from research in politics and international relations. This part of the course is taught through lectures, practical sessions and supervisions, and is assessed by a two-hour exam at the end of the year (making up 50% of the overall mark for the course).

The second part of the course consists of a data analysis project, on which students write a 5,000-word report that is due early in Easter term (which makes up the other 50% of the overall mark). For this project, students choose a topic from a list provided by the course leaders, design a research project based on available data related to the topic, and conduct the data analysis for the project. This paper will give students useful skills both for conducting social science research and for various career options in the public and private sector.

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