2023-2024 / SPOL2333-1

Methodology and analysis of public policies (practice)


30h Pr

Number of credits

 Bachelor in political sciences : general6 crédits 


Céline Parotte

Language(s) of instruction

French language

Organisation and examination

Teaching in the second semester


Schedule online

Units courses prerequisite and corequisite

Prerequisite or corequisite units are presented within each program

Learning unit contents

Students must carry out a field study to implement a qualitative analysis approach to a public action sector or a precise system, with collection of primary data through semi-direct interviews and FGD, then write a report including a biographical study.

During classes and tutorials, the following points will be the subject of particular attention:

- elaboration of a research question

- identification of contextual and institutional elements, as well as the stakeholders concerned;

- establishing and analysing a scientific bibliography on the chosen theme;

- identification of the aspects to be taken into consideration in the analysed policy in order to establish the interview guides and the outline of the focus group, and to bring together the relevant elements;

- analysis of the qualitative data collected through interviews and the focus group method

- writing a research report by suggesting a general tendency based on observations in the field.

Learning outcomes of the learning unit

The aim of this course is to involve students in all the stages of a qualitative analysis approach to a public policy system, so that they can :

  • examine in detail and use the theoretical concepts studied during the two co-requisite courses in Q1
  • implement a field survey both individually and in a group
  • acquire practical skills to analyse public policies, develop analysis tools, and elaborate theorisations leading to an approach based on the separation of facts and values
  • reproduce the methodological choices and the conclusions reached during verbal communication and in a written report.

Prerequisite knowledge and skills

Two courses are co-requisites :

SPOL2330-2  Methods in political science (theory) - Celine Parotte

SPOL2331-1  Analysis of public policies (theory)- Celine Parotte

Planned learning activities and teaching methods

Carry out a piece of research in groups (5 to 7 students, according to the number of students enrolled. They will be informed of the groups during the first session): the field work must be organised by the students, who have to use reference methods used in political science (bibliographical research; semi-structured interviews; organisation and analysis of focus group).

Regular support from the teaching team and formal compulsory presentations during plenary lectures devoted to the following major steps :

  • elaboration of the research question, constitution of a bibliographical corpus, presentation of the methodological choices, contextual elements (institutional and social) and identification of the stakeholders
  • results of the exploratory survey stage (first interviews) and honing of previous experiences; preparation of the focus group (stakeholders, observation guide, etc.)
  • results of the analysis of the collected material
Written report must be handed in on : May 2024 -15h00.

Oral defence during the June exam session (per group). Attendance of each group member is mandatory. The oral defense will be conducted as follows: first,  a question about the final report will be asked to every group member. Then, the professors will give feedback on the final written report to the students.

Mode of delivery (face to face, distance learning, hybrid learning)

Face-to-face course

Additional information:

Teaching will be in the form of plenary lectures (all students are obliged to attend) and group sessions.

All students must attend the focus group. Any absence must be justified by a medical certificate within 48 hours.

Recommended or required readings

Students were provided with the majority of references during the two co-requisite courses.

The methodological support tools are available on Ecampus: examples of how to formulate research questions, examples of final reports written according to scientific standards, RGPD data sheet tool, literature review tool, focus group tool, tool for conducting and analysing interviews, etc.

These invaluable tools answer most of the theoretical and methodological questions posed by previous cohorts of students.

Exam(s) in session

Any session

- In-person

oral exam

Written work / report

Continuous assessment

Additional information:

Continuous assessment by group based on three oral presentations (20% of the final score) and two written reports (80% of the final score).

The entire student group must attend the focus group in order to obtain the final score.

If each member of the group fails to attend an individual interview, the student is automatically returned to the second session.

Failure to attend the focus group automatically sends the group back to the second session.

Work placement(s)

Organisational remarks and main changes to the course

Tips on "methodological tools" are described on ecampus


The team in charge of the course is composed of :

Céline Parotte 

Catherine Fallon

Hélène Dodion

Three student monitors (teaching assistants)

Association of one or more MOOCs