Policy Analytics Research Seminar
This course is designed for students with an interest in political science or public policy AND statistical, programming or mathematical methods. It is an opportunity to apply your skills to a project that might serve as your showcase project for the job market. It will most likely be a research paper, but it could also be a new app or a new dataset.
The instructor will work with students to identify and design feasible projects. However, students who come with an issue or idea will have a head start so please feel free to contact me if you have thoughts or questions (firstname.lastname@example.org). Grades will be based on bi-weekly progress reports (followed by group discussions) and the final product. There are no exams.
Here are two examples of the kinds of projects we have in mind:
- A recent poorly designed (but well publicized) study concluded that certain states were closing polling stations with the goal of suppressing minority turnout. A student or team could propose a better research design, collect the necessary data and assess whether the initial claims still hold. (http://civilrightsdocs.info/pdf/reports/2016/poll-closure-report-web.pdf)
- Democracy works when voters hold lawmakers accountable for their actions. Yet voters are often misinformed about public policies and government spending. A student or team researches the problem and designs an app to improve public understanding of an important public policy issue. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/11/08/time...)
Prerequisites: Students must have prior statistical methods training or programming experience. For more information, please contact Professor Wilkerson at email@example.com.