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POL3135 : Political Psychology and Experimental Methods

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Rosario Aguilar
  • Co-Module Leader: Dr Sebastian Popa
  • Owning School: Geography, Politics & Sociology
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


The purpose of this module is to introduce students to the study of experimental methods and political psychology. In this module, students will learn about the relationship between psychology and politics, specifically, political behaviour. Moreover, students will understand the benefits of experimental methods that are widely used in this research area and others.

Outline Of Syllabus

1) Introduction: Political Psychology and Experimental Methods
2) Laboratory experiments
3) Survey experiments
4) Field experiments
5) Ethics and experimental research
6) Personality and politics
7) Media, communications and electoral campaigns
8) Emotions and politics
9) Political attitudes
10) Intergroup conflict and prejudice
11) Affective polarization and negative partisanship

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture112:0022:00PiP Lectures
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion168:0068:00N/A
Structured Guided LearningAcademic skills activities113:0033:00Guided questions/tasks based on readings and lecture content to develop during the seminar sessions.
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities116:0066:00Preparation for seminars. 11 seminars (2-3 reading and 3-5 question for seminars)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching111:0011:00PiP Seminars
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures are essential to explain the experimental methods and theories of political psychology. In addition to the lecturer extensive knowledge and research into the subjects studied, the lectures rely on use of PowerPoint slides as well as multi-media to provide students with examples and help them understand the readings and topics.

The small discussion seminars will allow students to reinforce the knowledge acquired through the readings and lectures, as the students will be able to come up with questions and continue their learning experience by discussing and exchanging points of views with each other. Moreover, the seminars are a great opportunity to develop critical skills by students working with each other to create activities to help other students learn better the topics discussed. Students enjoyed the seminar sessions and their structure and have told colleagues in GPS about it.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Prof skill assessmnt1A20Participation and engagement with the seminar activities. Also collaboration with other students to develop seminar activities.
Prof skill assessmnt1M15Peer review of research plan - Students will evaluate each other’s research plan and provide constructive feedback.
Essay1M201000 word research plan with a discussion of the theory and methods included.
Research proposal1M45A 2000 research proposal
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

1) The professional skills assessment provides motivation to students to come to seminars well-prepared and ready to engage with the material and with each other. In case students cannot attend the seminar, they will be able to submit on three occasions critical summaries of the readings assigned for that week to avoid losing points related to this assessment. I have received positive feedback from students regarding this assessment, as it motivates students to attend seminars systematically creating a stable learning community. Colleagues from GPS (i.e., Professor Cathrine Degnen, Dr Jemima Repo) have asked for my module guide to learn about this assessment as students have told them that it works well for them.

2) The research plan will provide time and space for students to plan how to develop the research question they choose for the final research proposal as well as the sources they will use to do so. I use this assessment to motivate students to engage with the final assessment from the beginning of the semester, meet with me to receive guidance and feedback. I also provide extensive feedback to the plans they submit.

3) Students will engage in peer-review of the plan in order to assimilate better the research proposal requirements and think about how to improve their own work while giving other students feedback. Students have given me positive feedback regarding this activity as they actively learn how to evaluate other's and their own work.

4) The research proposal will help students develop their written skills while improving their critical thinking and writing abilities building on from the research plan.

As a whole, the tasks will enable students to end the module with a good understanding of broad concepts in political psychology and experimental methods. Moreover, having a variety of assessments speaks directly to the evidence that students have different areas of strength and that they can perform better on some of them. Thus, these assessments provide opportunities to compensate for weaknesses in some evaluative areas, while improving their critical, analytical and written abilities.

Reading Lists