module specification

GI4008 - Politics and Government (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module status DELETED (This module is no longer running)
Module title Politics and Government
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 35%   1,800 word essay
Coursework 35%   Report 1500 words
Seminar 30%   Seminar assessment
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year (Spring and Summer) North Tuesday Afternoon
Year North Wednesday Morning

Module summary

This module has two broad purposes. Firstly, it gives students an introduction to the main ideas underlying the study of politics. What are the dominant ideologies that have shaped politics and what are their principal contentions. Secondly, it will explore and systematically compare the principal characteristics of government.

Module aims

• The module aims to provide a foundation for the understanding of political ideas and government.
• It introduces students to the methods and methodologies appropriate to the study of politics and government including comparative methodology.
• Mastering this subject matter will aid the development of critical skills which are transferable to a variety of contexts, thus assisting employability prospects.


What is politics and how is it studied? The nature and pervasiveness of the political, The State and the individual, Power and its resolution, Political theory, philosophy and ideology, modern ideologies, Methods and methodologies for the study of politics and government, Comparative Methodology, Institutions and structures of government, The policy process, Comparative government with appropriate case studies including the United Kingdom. Employability for students of politics and government.

Learning and teaching

Teaching consists of a weekly two hour lecture followed by a one hour tutorial. Lectures will involve a combination of taught lectures, videos, skills workshops, and the use of primary and secondary documents and websites. During the module seminars will combine a variety of methods including discussion based on pre-set questions and role plays. Blended Learning will be a key component of the module, building on existing face-to-face contact time via a virtual environment, and offering additional resources for students to develop further their subject knowledge and skills. Lecture notes and primary and secondary documents for use in class will be posted on line, as will web links for academic and governmental websites, as well as video links.  Some recorded material by the module convenor may also be made available on line.

Materials for use in class will be posted at least one week in advance on line to allow students to reflect on the subject and prepare. Questions for class discussion will be available from the beginning of the module via the Module Booklet available on weblearn, which will include a list of resources students can use to answer the questions and study the subject in greater depth.

Skills development will form a central component of the module, including specific sessions on essay preparation and writing, complimenting skills workshops featured on other Level Four modules provided by PIR.

Two activity weeks will also form part of the syllabus, allowing further skills development and subject-specific study.

The transferable employability skills students should have developed include:

  • The ability to communicate effectively in speech (the ability to work under pressure in seminars, where students must demonstrate the ability to respond to questions orally) and writing (for example, writing an essay using commonly accepted standards of definition, analysis, grammatical prose, and documentation);
  • Research skills, including the ability to synthesise and analyse arguments, to read and understand texts on international relations, and to exercise critical judgement;
  • The capacity to work independently, demonstrating initiative, self-organisation and time-management, as well as co-operating with other students to achieve common goals.

Learning outcomes

The key intellectual skills developed in the module are:

  • The ability to understand the nature and range of what is political,
  • To understand the main political ideologies, their origins and their connection to a range of present day issues
  • To understand the methods and methodologies, including comparative methodology, relevant to the study of politics and government.
  • To understand the workings of government as a core element of the political, with reference to relevant case studies including Britain.
  • In broader terms, students will develop an understanding of the contested and problematic character of inquiry in this, as in any, discipline. This is a key employability skill.

Assessment strategy

This assessment strategy is designed to ensure that all learning outcomes can be demonstrated. It involves a combination of written assessment and oral One formative piece of work is required for this module.

This is a short paper, of up to 500 words, succinctly stating the key principles and claims of one of the major political ideologies explored in the first 8 weeks of the module. This will be commented on by the module tutor in order to identify key strengths and areas for improvements in writing skills (in relation to the written assignment which is one part of the summative assessment – see below) and subject awareness and understanding. The short paper will be submitted on line.

The first summative assessment will be an essay, 1,800 words long due in week 14. The essay will provide students with the opportunity to submit a major piece of work of their choosing on a key topic covered in the first half of the module. This will enable students to build on the formative writing exercise and to develop further many of the employability skills introduced during the module, reflecting on what they have learnt and making use of constructive feedback.

The second summative assessment will entail a report on detailed briefing paper on a key issue covered in the second half of the module, such as the nature and role of political parties within liberal democracies, the role of pressure groups, the concept of the division of powers, etc. This report will be 1,500 words long. 

The third component of summative assessment will be seminar assessment. There are two aspects to this assessment. Students will be required to deliver a short presentation to their seminar group, drawing from a list of topics provided by their tutor. Secondly, students will be graded for their general participation in and contribution to seminar discussion over the course of module


Axford, Barrie, et al. (2002) Politics: An Introduction, London, Routledge.
Boucher, David, & Paul Kelly (eds.) (2009) Political Thinkers: From Socrates to the Present,
2nd edition, Oxford and New York, Oxford University Press.
Farrelly, Colin (2004) Introduction to Contemporary Political Theory, London, SAGE.
Goodwin, Barbara  (2007) Using Political Ideas, 5th edition, Chichester, John Wiley.
Hague, Rod and Harrop, Martin (2016 – latest ed.) Comparative Government and Politics: An Introduction, edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
Heywood, Andrew (2012) Political Ideologies: An Introduction, 4th edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave
Heywood, Andrew (2004) Political Theory: An Introduction, 3rd edition, Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Jones, Bill and Norton, Philip (eds.) (2010) Politics UK, 7th edition, Harlow, Pearson Education.
Budge, Ian(2007) The New British Politics, 4th edition, Harlow, Pearson Longman.
Kavanagh, Dennis and Cowley, Philip (2010) The British General Election of 2010, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.