APOL 322 (Research Methods in Political Science) aims to get students acquainted with the concepts and steps of conducting research in Political Science.

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to differentiate between scientific and non-scientific methods of acquiring knowledge. You should also be able to articulate different scientific methods of knowledge acquisition, understand the various types of research and how they are designed. Students should also be able to access Social Scientific Methods used in Political Science, including the connections between theory, research design, data collection and some level of data analysis.

The following are the key outcomes of the course:

  • Students should be able to understand and evaluate a research design.

  • Understand why scientific research is undertaken and explain its philosophical dimensions

  • Differentiate between different types of research 

  • Apply the systematic nature and process of research to produce knowledge that meets ethical standards

•           Formulate research questions and hypothesis

•           know the steps in the process of qualitative data collection.

•           Students should understand how research questions are operationalized in practice.

  • Develop critical thinking and analytical skills on issues relating to research methodology.



The module introduces students to the key conceptual debates and approaches in contemporary political sociology. The power relationship between the state and civil society is introduced, and the impact of recent social changes on this relationship is explored. Important and topical issues including globalisation, the rise of new social movements, neo-liberalism, citizenship, political culture and political participation are discussed and critiques of many key sociologists such as Giddens, Beck and Etzioni are presented. It is argued that the power of the state has not been undermined to the extent that is often assumed. Instead it is shown that the context within which the state governs has been changed by the rise of more diverse and critical civil societies within liberal democracy and by the development of global risks. The overall aim of this module is to introduce students to the key processes that are changing the nature of politics and society in the modern world.


Essentially, the Purpose of this Module is to deepen students understanding of the relationship between politics and society, more specifically, the state and civil society in a democratic state. It is therefore an exploration of the concepts of power, democracy, the state, civil society and their interdependent relationships.


This module in the first place introduces students to South African politics; South African state, government, and society. It looks at the forms and organisation of government in a democratic South Africa. It x-rays the nature of separation of power between all organs of government and discusses the constitution making process that is the basis of a new democratic South Africa.

This is an introductory module to the study of politics and it lays the foundation for understanding and explaining political phenomena. It also lays the foundation for postgraduate study of political science and its related disciplines. The module essentially exposes the first time student of politics to basic concepts of the discipline such as power, state, government, legitimacy and sovereignty. It will navigate you through the debate on the science or non-science of politics as a field of study, the different approaches to understanding political phenomena and producing knowledge that will help explain political behaviour at all levels political organization such as the local, national, regional and global. The last part of the modules will help give an insight into how politics is a medium of social change.  You will learn in the course of this module and the discipline as a whole that studying and understanding politics is important as everything in life is influenced by politics making some scholars to conclude that life is politics and politics is life. No wonder, famous Greek philosopher, Aristotle once said that man/woman is a political animal by nature.

The Department of Politics and International Studies offers this module, in order to empower students to have deep understanding global politics in order to help them make sense of trends that are shaping our world. Specifically, to


  • Explore the meaning and usage of concepts such as power, national interest, anarchy, war, diplomacy, peace, cooperation and interdependence;

  • Explore the evolutionary trend of IR as a discipline including the on-going impact of globalisation;

  • Analyse the principal approaches to the study of IR including the levels and units of analysis;

  • Explore the mainstream theories of IR that will help you to examine the behaviour of international actors and the nature of the international systems

  • Explore the fundamental causes of war as well as the role of international organizations in ensuring international co-operation, global peace and security

  • Essentially, the Purpose of this Module is to empower students to have deep understanding global politics in order to help them make sense of trends that are shaping our world.