POL S 500 A: Political Research Design And Analysis

Meeting Time: 
M 1:30pm - 4:20pm
SAV 140
Chris Parker
Christopher Sebastian Parker

Syllabus Description:

Political Science 500

Political Research Design and Analysis





Instructor: Christopher Sebastian Parker

Office: 112 Gowen Hall

Phone: 543-2947

Office Hours: By Appt.



Course Description


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the philosophical underpinnings and techniques that are prevalent in the discipline. The course opens with readings in the philosophy of science, texts that introduce the student on how to identify theories, after which s/he becomes acquainted with hypothesis testing. The balance of the course centers upon research design, the collection and analysis of data, and the associated logic.  Pedagogically, the course adopts a positivist perspective, but will occasionally reference interpretive approaches. While the course favors more quantitative methods, it does cover qualitative approaches as well. In the concluding two weeks of the class, students will focus upon the methods and skills necessary for preliminary quantitative analysis.




Weekly reaction papers are required, all of which must respond to prompts from the instructor. This will constitute 70% of the final grade. Class participation will count for 30% of the grade. For the “hands on” part of the course, where students are required to analyze data, the instructor will supply the data. Alternatively, students can use their own data, with the approval of the instructor.  


Required Texts


Achen, Christopher H. 1982. Interpreting and Using Regression.

Brady, H., and D. Collier. 2004. Rethinking Social Inquiry.

Hempel, Carl G. 1966. Philosophy of Natural Science.

King, G., R.O. Keohane, and S. Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry.

Kuhn, Thomas S. 1962. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

Lewis-Beck, Michael. 1995. Data Analysis.


* Denotes readings posted on Canvas














October 1:  Introduction


October 8:  Philosophical Foundations of Research Design

         Kuhn, Structure of Scientific Revolutions

         Lakatos, Falsification and Methodology of Scientific Research Programs*


October 15: Formulating Theories and Hypotheses

         Hempel, Philosophy of Natural Science

         Friedman, Essays in Positive Economics*


October 22: Empirical Examples

         Edelstein, Occupational Hazards*

         Fearon and Laitin, Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War*

         Gibson and Caldeira, The Etiology of Public Support for the Supreme Court*

         Miller and Stokes, Constituency Influence in Congress*

         Walter, The Critical Barrier to Civil War Settlement*

         White, When Race Matters and When it Doesn’t*

         Valentino et al., Cues that Matter*


October 29: Research Design

         King et al., Designing Social Inquiry

         Brady and Collier, Rethinking Social Inquiry (Ch. 1-3, 5, 7-8).


November 5: Inference in Experimental and Non-experimental Settings

         Cook and Campbell, Quasi Experimentation, pp. 1-9, 37-44, 50-85*

         Iyengar and Kinder, News that Matters*

         Blalock, Causal Inferences in Non-experimental Research*


November 12: Measurement, Coding, and Data Collection

         Bartels, Messages Received*

         Bollen, Issues in the Comparative Measurement of Political Democracy*

         Hall, Measuring Legislative Influence*

         Weatherford, Measuring Political Legitimacy*


November 19: Lab


November 26: Thanksgiving, No class



December 3: Inference, Contingency Tables

         Campbell et al., The American Voter*

         Matthews and Prothro, Negroes and the New Southern Politics*

         Rosenberg, The Logic of Survey Analysis*

         Lewis-Beck, Data Analysis


December 10: Regression

         Holland, Statistics and Causal Inference*

         Achen, Interpreting and Using Regression















Catalog Description: 
Major quantitative methods of empirical research in political science. Primary emphasis on research design, data collection, data analysis, and use of computers.
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:45pm