The Analysis of Conflict and Peace

The details
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 6
Sunday 15 January 2023
Friday 24 March 2023
11 January 2023


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module focuses on contemporary conflict and peace research and the concept and tools necessary to be able to follow current research in this area.
Whereas many courses focus on `knowing what`, or familiarizing students with particular facts or existing contributions to the literature, our emphasis here will very much be on `knowing how`, or the underlying logic of theoretical arguments about war and peace and how researchers evaluate these.

In particular, we will not focus on meta-theories such as realism or liberalism, which postulate a set of core assumptions and general propositions on how international relations are held to operate, but instead look at the implications entailed by different theories and arguments on war and peace, and think of ways to evaluate if these are consistent with empirical patterns.

We will examine the relationship between theory and evidence, measurement, and research design in research on war and peace. The specific theories and issues we will examine include conflict trends, the relationship of power, preferences, economic relations, domestic politics, and international organizations to conflict and peace.

Students need to have a firm understanding of mainstream theories of conflict and research methods. They should have taken a research methods course and at least one advanced course (second year or higher) in international relations prior to taking this course as it assumes familiarity with common theories of conflict. In exceptional circumstances students can be admitted without having fulfilled this prerequisite if they can demonstrate the necessary knowledge prior to the course.

Module aims

The module seeks to develop or enhance the following key skills:

1. Analyzing theories and cases trains students' analytical skills
2. Analyzing the case material trains students in developing research design.
3. Analyzing the case material trains students' numeracy skills
4. Report writing trains students' writing skills
5. Analysis and evaluation in the light of theory requires critical thinking

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module the students should have achieved the following:

1. Have a good overview and understanding of current theories on the causes of war and peace
2. Understand current controversies on the causes of war and peace using the theories discussed in the course
3. Understand core issues regarding how one would evaluate the implications of distinct theories and assess the validity of theoretical and empirical claims
4. Practical knowledge of data sources relevant to conflict and basic analysis skills

Module information

This module is part of the Q-Step pathway. Q-Step is an award which you can gain simply by enrolling on specific modules and will signal to employers your capability in quantitative research. Learn more about the Q-Step pathway and enhance your degree now.

Learning and teaching methods

This module will be taught over 2 hours per week Students are expected to participate actively in discussions and must complete two pieces of assigned coursework..


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   Assignment 1  23/03/2023  50% 
Coursework   Assignment 2  27/04/2023  50% 

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
Dr Muhammad Hussain, email: m.mohsin.hussain@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Muhammad Hussain
Module Supervisor: Dr Muhammad Hussain, mh23290@essex.ac.uk; Module Administrator: govquery@essex.ac.uk



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
Of 4 hours, 4 (100%) hours available to students:
0 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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