Using parliament and government as research resources

Since the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009, parliament, government and associated agencies (such as political parties) have been keen to be regarded as ‘transparent’ institutions and to try and make citizens feel more involved in their activities.  One consequence of this desire is the enormous amount of primary material now offered freely on the Internet. The second year British Politics module was designed to take advantage of this rich research resource.  It gives students experience in researching primary parliament and government sources and putting them to use as evidence in their written arguments.

"I think that using primary sources just allows us to be more creative and also more critical at the same time.  Because, just being based on the primary source, it means that, actually, we have to have an opinion on it.  But, on the other hand, if you just go straight to the secondary sources, then we’re just basically being spoon-fed.  We can’t really say anything.  We can say, ‘yes, I agree,’ or disagree, but if we don’t go on and find something else to support that idea, it’s kind of difficult."   ...Student taking British Politics

Read more about the British Politics module  and take a look at the Research Sources Guide that was developed to support the students' work, particularly their use of the internet: 

Documents you can download from this page: