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PHPE301 Research Essay

2021 information for papers will be published in early September. 

Supervised research on an approved topic integrating the three disciplines of philosophy, politics and economics.

In this paper you apply what you have learned already to an original, independent research project. You select, research and complete a study on a topic of your choice under the supervision of the course convener and in consultation with one or more members of staff from the three disciplines. Topics will vary but will always focus on a complex issue susceptible to integrative analysis. Seminar-style discussions and research workshops will be led by a single lecturer supplemented by frequent guest experts, but a substantial portion of class time will be directed by the students themselves. A series of readings, analyses, debates, presentations, think-pieces and other activities will culminate for each student in a major piece of independent research on the topic.

Paper title Research Essay
Paper code PHPE301
Subject Philosophy, Politics and Economics
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points 18 points
Teaching period(s) First Semester, Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $904.05
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $3,954.75

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PHPE 201
Schedule C
Arts and Music, Commerce
Students who do not meet the prerequisite may be admitted with the approval from the Philosophy, Politics and Economics Programme Co-ordinator.

Teaching staff

Dr Chris Rudd

Paper Structure
Early in the semester, most classes will combine lectures on research methods (and other topics related to conducting research in political economy) with student-led discussion on topic selection and project design. Later in the semester, most classes will include group discussion of individual research projects in progress, including informal presentation of ideas, workshops on short excerpts, and so forth. The last part of the term is given over to presentation and discussion of student projects in the style of an academic conference, with guest commentators comprised of local and visiting staff.

  • Essay (6,000 words), 70%
  • Discussant on conference panel, 15%
  • Presentation of independent research, 15%
Teaching Arrangements
The paper aims not only to deepen the students' understanding of political economy, but also to give them as much practice as possible in constructing and defending arguments both on paper and in person. Students will also be teaching each other and sharing complementary research expertise. Guests invited to hear final student presentations should have expertise relevant to the students' research topics for that day. The convener will also lead a number of special sessions on elements of the research project, including identifying scholarly resources, writing review essays, making effective presentations, and so forth.
Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will
  • Develop mastery of a new literature in political economy
  • Be able to apply basic principles of philosophical, political and economic analysis to complex problems
  • Complete an independent research project from conception to presentation
  • Present political-economic arguments and demonstrate the ability to respond to critique in real time
  • Develop the ability to pose critical questions and weigh competing answers in political economy

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First Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system