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UNLV PSC 701 - Syllabus

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1PSC 701 Research Methods in Political Science Fall 2008 Instructor: Dr. David Damore e-mail: [email protected] Time: Th 5:30 – 8:20 Phone: 895-3217; Office: WRI B211A Room: WRI B224 Office Hours: Tu 1-2:30 Th 4-5:30 Scope and Purpose: This course provides students with the skills necessary to evaluate and conduct systematic research in political science. The course is divided into three parts. Part one serves as an introduction by familiarizing students with the sub-fields within the discipline of Political Science, the prospects of and limitations to a scientific study of politics, and the process by which social scientific theories are developed. Part two examines the research design process in detail (e.g., hypothesis formulation, measurement, data collection, and inference) and the ethics of social research. An introduction to quantitative methods (e.g., statistics) used in social science research is the focus of part three. Course Material: King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Levin, Jack, and James Alan Fox. 2004. Elementary Statistics in Social Research, The Essentials. Boston: Pearson Education. Monroe, Alan D. 2000. Essentials of Political Research. Boulder, CO: Westview. Course reader (available via course WebCampus site). A calculator will be useful for part three. Texts are available at the bookstore (students also may buy online for lower prices) Requirements: 1. Exams (30%) – Three exams, each occurring after each section of the course (exams are not cumulative). Exams are take home in format. Each exam counts for 10% of course grade. 2. Research Paper (40%) – Over the course of the semester students are required to develop a paper offering an original research design assessing a question of significance to the study of politics. Detailed information is forthcoming.23. Homework (15%) – A series of homework assignments throughout the term, each of which is due by 2:00 p.m. the day of class. Late work is not accepted, e-mail submissions are. Homework assignments for part three of the class only may be resubmitted for up to half of the originally deducted amount (resubmission must be made prior to the next class meeting. 4. Participation (15%) – Determined by students’ attendance, preparation, and willingness to enter into discussions as they arise. Policies and Miscellaneous: 1. The honor code is strictly enforced. Any evidence of collaboration, plagiarism, or other violations of the honor code will be immediately referred for investigation. For additional information, please see the UNLV Student Academic Misconduct Policy available at http://studentlife.unlv.edu/judicial/misconductPolicy.html/. 2. UNLV requires all members of the university community to be familiar with the honor code and to follow copyright and fair use requirements. You are individually and solely responsible for violations of copyright and fair use laws. UNLV will neither protect nor defend you nor assume any responsibility for employee or student violations of fair use laws. To familiarize you with copyright and fair use policies, visit the UNLV copyright web page at http://www.unlv.edu/committees/copyright/. 3. Make-ups are granted for documented illnesses or deaths in the immediate family (documented as well). If the assignments for this course conflict with other obligations, either adjust your schedule or study habits accordingly. If you need to miss an assignment because of observance of a religious holiday or because you represent UNLV at any official extracurricular activity you must notify the instructor no later than week two of the semester. 4. While the amount of reading for this class is less than what is typically assigned in graduate courses, it is far more technical and dense than you may be accustomed to. As a consequence, it may take multiple readings to comprehend concepts presented in the readings. It is expected that reading assignments will be completed prior to the lectures for which they are assigned. 5. If you have a documented disability that requires assistance, you need to contact Disability Resource Service (DRS) for coordination of your academic accommodations. The DRS is located in the Student Services Complex, Room 137 and can be reached at 895-0866 or http://studentlife.unlv.edu/disability/. 6. Cut-offs for final grades are as follows: A = 100–94.0 B = 86.9–84.0 C = 76.9–74.0 D = 66.9-64.0 A- = 93.9–90.0 B- = 83.9–80.0 C- = 73.9–70.0 D- = 63.9-60.0 B+ = 89.9–87.0 C+ = 79.9–77.0 D+ = 69.9– 67.0 F = 59.9-03Course Calendar and Reading Assignments Date Topic Reading August 28 Course Overview Part I: Scientific Inquiry and Theory Building September 4 Scientific Inquiry Overview of Political Science King, Keohane, and Verba: Preface and pages 3–11 Monroe: pages 1-3 Reader: “Book Reviews of Subjective Research” King, Keohane, and Verba: pages 12–32 Monroe: pages 10-16 September 11 Formulating the Research Question Conducting the Literature Review King, Keohane, and Verba: chapter two Monroe: pages 3-9 King, Keohane, and Verba: chapter three Reader: “Reading Journal Articles” “Doing a Literature Review,” and “Process and Text: Teaching Students to Review the Literature” September 18 Inductive and Deductive Reasoning Assumptions, Concepts, and Paradigms King, Keohane, and Verba: pages 185-195 Monroe: chapter 2 Reader: “War and the Fate of Regimes” September 25 Causality and Parsimony Reader: “Occam’s Razor and Parsimony” and “Criminal Element” Exam 1 Distributed Part II: Operationalization and Research Design October 2 Operationalization Measurement Reader: “The Multi-Layered Impact of Public Opinion” Monroe: chapter 4, pages 83-90 Reader: “The Poverty Measure” and4“Bloomberg Seeks New Way to Decide Who Is Poor” October 9 Research Design Sampling and Data Sources King, Keohane, and Verba: chapter four Monroe: pages 32-46 Monroe: chapter 5 October 16 Modes of Scientific Inquiry King, Keohane, and Verba: chapter six Reader: “Wars and American Politics,” “War and the Fate of Regimes,” and “A Spiral of Cynicism for Some: The Contingent Effects of Campaign News Frames on Participation and Confidence in


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