Undergraduate Modules

Introduction to Political Analysis

Political Analysis is at the core of our teaching at Sheffield. We will equip you with the intellectual skills and practical tools required to develop as scholars. We will teach you how to think: how to define the parameters of the political; how to ask critical questions about the nature of the political world; and how to interrogate claims to knowledge.

This module draws on a range of core concepts, key thinkers and significant events and encourages you to reflect critically upon them, and upon your own otherwise unquestioned assumptions. You will take concepts like freedom, power and democracy that feature so regularly in how we talk about politics and tease them apart. You will explore the ‘essentially contested’ nature of such concepts and the fundamental reasons that different perspectives remain opposed. In doing so, the module explores the relationship between knowledge, its validation and the methods we use to collect information. We will also equip you with the practical tools necessary to flourish as scholars, and a research and study skills component is also included in the module. You will also have the opportunity to attend a series of bespoke practical workshops alongside your lectures.

Topics covered on this module:

  • Understanding ‘the political’
  • How to study politics
  • Democracy
  • Power
  • Liberty
  • Equality
  • The State
  • Terrorism
  • Conceptual contestability
  • Approaches to knowledge
  • Politics as a ‘science’

First Year | Autumn Semester

Module Code: POL113

Teaching Methods:

  • 11 one-hour lectures
  • 11 one-hour seminars
  • 7 practical skills workshops


  • 1 2,000-word essay
  • 1 Group Project