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New Course! Spring 2017 - POLS 405B Advanced Research: Data Science and Politics

Submitted by Tamara Sollinger on February 3, 2017 - 3:17pm
Pol S 405 flier

MW 12:30-2:20
Instructor: John Wilkerson

This course is for 1) political science majors or minors with demonstrated quantitative or computational interests, and 2) STEM majors who have an interest in political science and public policy.
Here’s your chance to showcase those skills by applying them to a politics or policy-related topic!

Each student (or student team) will design and complete an independent project addressing an important contemporary public policy issue. The end product is a research paper or application such as:

  • 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 results hold.

  • Democracy works if voters hold lawmakers accountable for their actions. Yet voters are often misinformed about government spending and public policy.  A student or team designs an app to improve public understanding of an important public policy issue.

The instructor will work with students to identify and design feasible projects. Those who bring an issue or research idea to the course will have a head start. Grades will be based on bi-weekly progress reports (followed by group discussions) and the final product. There are no exams.

Prerequisites:  Students should have demonstrated interests in statistical methods or computer programming.  For more information, please contact Professor Wilkerson at

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