Short course

Writing and Researching the Political Economy of Inequality

Online course details



Next course date

Open now


25 hours

CPD hours

25 CPD hours


Self-guided online learning



Online course description

Writing and Researching the Political Economy of Inequality is a free online course that seeks to deepen your engagement with a range of debates on global and domestic inequalities, which present the key challenges of our time.

The course is ideal for postgraduate students and early career researchers with some grounding in (International) Political Economy and/or related disciplines. It will help to develop both conceptual and practical research skills and build confidence and familiarity in a range of data collection methods.

The course begins with a definitional unit which asks you to think about the different ways in which inequalities are defined and measured. It then precedes to outline an analytical framework that can help to draw together research on different forms of inequality in different temporal, spatial and social contexts. The course then moves through several units which help you to understand the research process; starting with setting effective research questions, moving through the location of research in existing knowledge and then progressing to a variety of data collection techniques. The course culminates with support and guidance on how to make the most of communicating research findings to a variety of audiences, ranging from other researchers interested in your topic, to policymakers and practitioners, and a wider interested public.

As you progress through the course, you will be able to use the materials to support the development of you own research project on the political economy of inequalities. Self-guided tasks and assessments allow you to check your progress and gain confidence in the progression of your research. The aim is to support both postgraduate students and early career researchers to develop their own capacity for research and their academic and research careers.

Who is this course for?

Though this course is open to anyone interested in the topic, it has been created for postgraduate students and early career researchers specifically interested in the political economy of inequality.

Structure, certificates and assessment

An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

The CPD standards office CPD provider

Course units

This unit explores how inequality is defined, understood and measured. It identifies some contemporary patterns in inequality including areas that are rarely discussed and asks you to critically reflect on your research plans, identifying how you define and measure inequality in your own work.

This unit explores how we can identify patterns of inequality from varying temporal, spatial and scalar perspectives, helping you to reflect on how you utilise time, space and scale in your own research.

In this unit we ask you to reflect on the sources of your research interests, how these can be developed into a statement of aims, objectives and research questions that frame your work.

This unit will help you to perform and track literature searches conducted via Google Scholar, to be able to identify the differences between types of literature reviews and select a literature review type that is most appropriate for your own research.

This unit takes you through the process of qualitative data collection. It will help you to identify potential interviewees and create a topic guide for one-to-one or group interviews for use in your research project. You will create a risk register for use when applying observational data collection techniques and identify strengths and weaknesses of qualitative data collection techniques.

This unit looks at how to use quantitative data on inequality in your research, helping you to identify and select appropriate secondary data sources. You will explore how to design a questionnaire to gather quantitative data for your research project.

This final unit will help you disseminate the results of your research by looking at how to write for a variety of different audiences and exploring different dissemination methods for reaching the target audience for your research. You will also prepare a plan to develop your research impact.

Learning outcomes

This course supports the development of your research focus as well as your growth as a researcher. The course seeks to:

  1. Explore some of the conceptual and theoretical foundations to the study of the political economy of inequality
  2. Support the development of research projects and of new knowledge about the political economy of inequality
  3. Support the development of research careers focused on the political economy of inequality
  4. Generate change through the production of new knowledge about the political economy of inequality

Course requirements

How to enrol

All of our free courses are delivered through an easy-to-use online learning platform, which you can enrol from directly.

What you will need

The course is free and widely available for anyone to take part in regardless of age, location or education status. You will need to agree to the terms and conditions before you start the course which will be available when you enrol.

However, there are some basic requirements. You will need access to the internet whether it is on your PC, tablet, mobile or other electronic devices, as well as a valid email address to register with our online learning environment in order to take part in the course.

Once registered, please be aware that all study for this course is online and so you will need to be able to engage with this via a personal device, preferably a computer or laptop, for the stated duration of the course.

The learning platform is compatible with screen reader technology to assist those with visual impairments.

Course creators

This course has been funded by the British Academy Writing Workshops Programme and has been developed by Dr Sophia Price and Professor Alexander Nunn.

Dr Sophia Price

Course author

Sophia is Head of Politics and International Relations at Leeds Beckett University and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. She is Principal Investigator for the British Academy-funded Writing and Researching Inequality in Africa Programme.

Sophia's research focuses on the European Union's (EU) external relations, particularly its provision of development aid and its links to trade liberalisation. As a feminist political economist, her work explores the gendered dimension of trade and of financial inclusion and poverty reduction strategies. Sophia has published a wide range of works on gender and development policy; the EU’s external relations with the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific Group; EU and UK relations with West Africa; and the political economy of trade and aid. Sophia is co-lead of the Leeds Beckett CeASR Global Inequalities Research Group.

Contact us

If you want to find out more about studying a short course, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

Contact us Contact us

Course policies