Fall Semester 2015
Professor Sid Olufs
Office: Xavier 153, firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Sakai Site
How does Political Science approach analysis of the political world? This course covers the approaches borrowed and developed by the discipline, research design, and qualitative and quantitative methods to conduct research. Upon completion, students should be able to critique, understand, and conduct research about politics.
By the end of the semester students will:
· Demonstrate a critical understanding of a variety of methods used in the discipline of Political Science
· Write a paper analyzing a public policy
· Design a research project that conforms to the standards learned in the course
Here is how to do well in the course.
Be sure to check the assignments page, which offers more direction than the schedule.
Here is an introduction to research design.
Use Purdue Owl, an online writing guide
I. Political Science as a Science
- Normative & empirical questions, prediction, policy
- Choose broad research area
- How to determine causality
- Models and relationships
III. Asking Research Questions
- Refine research area
IV. Literature Review - understanding prior research
- Finding sources
- Determining relevance
- How to read a research article
- How to critically evaluate articles
- Applying material
- Overview of different methods: quantitative, qualitative, experimental
- Put it all together for your research area
V. Crafting a Theory based on literature
VI. Hypotheses and Identifying Concepts
VII. Designing Analysis
Readings [See the bibliography and course schedule. ]
· Booth, et.al., The Craft of Research, Third Edition, University of Chicago Press, 2008 (ISBN-13 = 978-0226065663)
· Charles E. Lindblom, Inquiry and Change, Yale University Press, 1992 (ISBN-13 = 9780300056679)
· portions of Meehan’s Reasoned Argument in the Social Sciences
· articles that illustrate the variety of approaches we find useful in studying politics.
· A writing manual, which may be online. Perhaps the best out there is Purdue Owl, a guide to many writing issues. Get familiar with it. The main advantage of the online version is it is free. There are many printed handbooks, and they tend to be expensive. The Little, Brown Handbook, any edition, set the standard long ago. I like Lester Faigley, The Brief Penguin Handbook (NY: Longman, 2003). Other editions are OK, too, but I like The One With The “Plastic Comb” Binding. Anything by Dianne Hacker is good, the long or short versions.
Complete all readings in advance, and follow note-taking guidelines discussed in class.
Argumentation. Among the approaches to argumentation we will use is one created by Stephen Toulmin. Read about him and his approach to practical arguments.
Finding Sources. Make a habit of finding sources. Use the library. We will practice different ways of framing a question, finding sources, vetting sources, preparing literature reviews, and more.