10165 Introduction to Theories and Methods in Political Science 1

Credits: 6 intermediate credits in Political Science

Prerequisites: none

Recommended: Introduction to the Social Sciences, Introduction to Political Thought

The course is based on Hebrew translations of Theory and Methods in Political Science (2nd ed.), edited by D. Marsh and G. Stoker (Palgrave, Macmillan, 2002) and Political Research: An Introduction, by L. Harrison (Routledge, 2001).

Is Political Science really a “science”? If so, how are political systems studied scientifically and systematically, and if not, must we remain at the level of personal interpretation, or are there better tools we can employ to understand the strong entity, the State, and its effect on our lives? The course addresses these and other questions. It provides a comprehensive, in-depth and up-to-date overview of varied fields of study and fundamental research questions in political science, as well as a detailed discussion of accepted research methods in the discipline.

Topics: Theory and Methods in Political Science: Ontology and epistemology; Behavioralism; Rational choice; Institutionalism; Feminism; Interpretative theory; Marxism; Normative theory; Qualitative and quantitative methods; Comparative methods; Structure and agency; Institutions and ideas. Political Research: Quantitative research; Using surveys in research; Analyzing official data; Qualitative research; Using interviews in research; Evaluating existing research and archives; A guide to writing a dissertation in politics.

1This is a required qualifying course in the MA in Democracy Studies.

This course is not recommended as the student’s first course at the Open University.

There is some overlap in the content of this and other courses. For details, see Overlapping Courses.