Dr. Sara McLaughlin Mitchell

Summer 1999

Research Methods in Political Science

POS 3713

Course Description

This course is designed to acquaint students with research methods used by social scientists. Students will study terms and concepts used in research (e.g., theories, null and alternative hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, validity, reliability, generalizability), research design (including experimental and quasi-experimental designs, survey design, and sampling). Students will be introduced to basic statistical techniques for analyzing data and the interpretation of coefficients and statistical tests (frequency distributions, measures of central tendency, measures of association, spurious correlation, regression, confidence intervals and tests of significance).


Course Requirements

The best way to learn this material is to have read the assigned readings BEFORE the class date in which they are discussed. This will enable you to be familiar with the new concepts as I discuss them in lecture and for you to ask questions. I expect this class to be quite relaxed (this is summer!), so jump in and ask questions or make remarks at anytime. There is NO such thing as a stupid question.

Your course grade is based on your performance on 3 exams and weekly homework assignments. The distribution of your final grade in the class is as follows:

Midterm Exam 1 20%

Midterm Exam 2 20%

Final Exam 35%

Homework 25%


1. Homework (25%): Each Tuesday, you will receive a homework assignment that will cover that week's topics. You will turn in each homework assignment at the beginning of class on Friday (except the last homework assignment, which will be turned in on Thursday, June 17th). There are a total of 6 homework assignments; you can drop your lowest grade. Assignments turned in late will not be accepted. I will automatically count a late or missing homework as your lowest grade.

2. Midterm Exams (40%): There are two midterm exams scheduled on Friday, May 21st and Friday, June 4th. The problems on exams will be very similar to those assigned as homework. They will include problem solving, short answer, and multiple choice.

3. Final Exam (35%): The final exam is on Friday, June 18th (the last day of class). This exam is comprehensive.

Textbooks and Required Materials

Manheim, Jarol B. and Richard C. Rich. 1995. Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods in Political Science (4th Edition). New York: Longman Publishing Group.

Healey, Joseph F. 1999. Statistics: A Tool for Social Research (5th Edition). Belmont, CA:

Wadsworth Publishing Company.

You will need a calculator with a square root key.


Course Outline

Monday, May 10th Introduction: M&R, Chapter 1

The Scientific Method

Tuesday, May 11th Theory Building M&R, Chapters 2 & 3

Building a Bibliography

Wednesday, May 12th Research Designs: M&R, Chapters 5 & 6

Experiments and Sampling

Thursday, May 13th Research Designs: M&R, Chapter 7

Survey Research

Friday, May 14th Research Designs M&R, Chapters 8 & 11

Interviewing and

Direct Observation

**Assignment #1 Due**

Monday, May 17th Operationalization & M&R, Chapters 4 & 12


Date Topic Required Readings

Tuesday, May 18th Operationalization & M&R, Chapter 14

Measurement Healey, Chapter 1

Wednesday, May 19th Basic Descriptive Statistics Healey, Chapter 2

M&R, Chapter 15

Thursday, May 20th Measures of Central Tendency Healey, Chapter 3

Friday, May 21st Midterm Exam #1

**Assignment #2 Due**

Monday, May 24th Measures of Dispersion Healey, Chapter 4

Tuesday, May 25th Statistics for nominal and M&R, Chapter 17

ordinal data Healey, Chapter 13

Wednesday, May 26th Statistics for nominal and Healey, Chapters 14 & 15

ordinal data

Thursday, May 27th Chi-Square Healey, Chapters 11 & 12

Friday, May 28th Measures of association: Healey, Chapter 16

interval variables

**Assignment #3 Due**

Monday, May 31st No class, Memorial Day

Tuesday, June 1st Normal Curve Healey, Chapter 5

Wednesday, June 2nd Sampling Healey, Chapter 6

Thursday, June 3rd Confidence Intervals Healey, Chapter 7

Friday, June 4th Midterm Exam #2

**Assignment #4 Due**

Monday, June 7th Hypothesis Testing: The Healey, Chapter 8

One Sample Case

Tuesday, June 8th Hypothesis Testing: The Healey, Chapter 8 (continued) One Sample Case

Wednesday, June 9th Hypothesis Testing: The Healey, Chapter 9

Two Sample Case

Thursday, June 10th Hypothesis Testing: The Healey, Chapter 9 (continued)

Two Sample Case

Friday, June 11th Analysis of Variance Healey, Chapter 10

**Assignment #5 Due**

Monday, June 14th Elaborating Bivariate Tables Healey, Chapter 17

Tuesday, June 15th Regression Healey, Chapter 18

Wednesday, June 16th Regression Healey, Chapter 18 (continued)

Thursday, June 17th Wrap-up and review

**Assignment #6 Due**

Friday, June 18th Final Exam