Measuring Public Opinion

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 05 October 2023
Friday 15 December 2023
28 February 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

Public opinion is a fundamental element of politics. The three quotes above are a testimony to this. Public opinion informs and affects the behavior of various political actors such as interest groups and political parties. This all provides a good reason to study public opinion and how one can measure it. But apart from the real-world relevance, surveys are also highly relevant across the social sciences and especially in political science.

Module aims

The aims of this module are to give students:
a sophisticated conceptual understanding of public opinion;
an understanding of how we know what we know about survey methodology;
a detailed knowledge of the core tenets of survey research: questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork;
practical experience of those core tenets;
an ability to collect and analyse survey data;
the capacity to follow survey-based research published in leading journals.

Module learning outcomes

The outcomes of this module will be:
an ability to critically assess claims about public opinion by pollsters, journalists, politicians, family, and so on
a completed and analysed survey which can be cited as an example of project work
a CV enhanced with practical skills of questionnaire design and data analysis;
experience of independent learning based on the project-based assignments

Module information

There will be a Moodle site assigned to this module, and all materials –lecture notes, class exercises, datasets, assessment details and requirements, and also some of the readings –will be placed there.Together, the students will decide in Week 16 whether the remainder of the module will be available on Listen Again.

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Learning and teaching methods

This module runs for the ten weeks of the autumn term. Each week there will be a two-hour seminar session. The final three sessions will take place in a computer lab. 


The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course.
The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students.
Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Essay  20/11/2023  40% 
Coursework   Questionnaire Design   08/01/2024  60% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Mr Iakovos Makropoulos, email: i.makropoulos@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Iakovos Makropoulos
Module Supervisor: Dr Iakovos Makropoulos (i.makropoulos@essex.ac.uk) / Module Administrator: Jasini Hobbs - govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

Dr Stefano Pagliari
City, University of London
Senior Lecturer in International Politics
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 18 (90%) hours available to students:
2 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s), module, or event type.


Further information

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