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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Research Design for Policy Makers
Module Code LG5065
School School of Law & Government
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Iain McMenamin
Semester 2: Iain McMenamin
Autumn: Iain McMenamin
Module TeachersIain McMenamin
Daniel Marks
NFQ level 9 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Coursework Only
To produce a research design and plan for the PAE.

This module is designed to prepare you to complete the Policy Analysis Exercise (PAE), which accounts for one third of your MPP. This is a pass/ fail module for which you will be expected to produce a research design for your PAE. To prepare you for that the moduule will introduce you to research design and some research methods. Often the PAE is designed around specific policy instruments, in an attempt to assess their efficacy. The policy is then a treatment. We will deal with causal inference, and look at methods that help establish causality. There will also be a practical guide to how to do a PAE.

Learning Outcomes

1. Create a research design for a piece of original policy research
2. Present their research proposal to a group
3. Critically evaluate other research designs

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture22Attend and participate in class
Class Presentation3Prepare and present to class, engage with lecturer
Independent Study100Do reading and preparation for research deign
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

What is the PAE?
Finding a Public Policy Puzzle. Examples: Does education lead to an increase in income? Which hospital should I go to? Exercise: Making better questions

Building blocks for Theory Testing
Variables, concepts, unit of analysis, theories, hypotheses.

Collecting Evidence: Measurement
Level of measurement, types of measures, measurement error, reliability and validity.

Cause and Effect: Research Design
Covariance, temporal precedence, Internal and external validity, Regression to the Mean, causal mechanisms, control, Spurious relationships, DAGs, confounding, case or variable oriented design.

Different types of studies
Observational studies, sampling, RCTs, Statistical analyses, case studies, surveys, meta-analysis, process tracing.

Thinking Statistically
Endogeneity, selection bias, Bayesian analysis

A Practical Guide to the PAE
Having an argument, making it well

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Research PaperProduce a research proposal for the PAE100%n/a
PresentationPresent the research design0%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • William M. K. Trochim: 2016, Research Methods: Knowledge Base, Cengage, 9788131530856
  • John Gerring,Dino Christenson: 2017, Applied Social Science Methodology, Cambridge University Press, 9781107416819
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
MPPMSc in Public Policy

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