Postgraduate Module Descriptor

POLM037: Logics of Explanation in Politics

This module descriptor refers to the 2014/5 academic year.


NQF Level7
Credits15 ECTS Value7.5
Term(s) and duration

This module ran during term 1 (11 weeks)

Academic staff

Dr Dario Castiglione (Convenor)





Available via distance learning


The aim of this module is to provide you with a sophisticated introduction to the major issues in various competing logics of explanation surrounding differing approaches to the study of politics. The assumption underlying this module is that all studies of the social world, either explicitly or implicitly, approach their object of study from a particular perspective and that the understanding and clarification of these perspectives is a vital part of the research process. In this respect, explanation in the social sciences in embedded in philosophy. The module is structured around the major contemporary approaches to the study of the social world as detailed in the ESRC guidelines for postgraduate training.

The study of the issues raised in this module should equip you to have a basic grasp on the central dilemmas facing all social science and humanities students in relation to the study of the social world. The course picks up many of the themes covered in the generic research-training programme and addresses them from a political science perspective.

It is intended to give syou the necessary tools to competently understand empirical political research, as well proving a sophisticated set of research skills necessary in order to complete graduate-level research. The course will provide you with a sound understanding of: the nature of explanation in the social sciences

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