Public Opinion


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PS 355 Public Opinion John Brehm Pick 502 2 8075 jjbrehm uchicago edu This class is a graduate seminar introduction to the study of public opinion The scope of the readings in this class should bring you current with academic research in public opinion We will examine such topics as the meaning of public opinion forces affecting the formation of public opinion the distribution of opinion on major issues and the consequences of public opinion in modern politics The grading for this class will be based on two short papers 5 10 pages 20 each a longer paper 15 20 pages 40 and class participation 20 The short papers should synthesize an argument from a single week s readings The short papers should not be literature reviews but criticisms of central themes in the readings Appropriate short paper topics might examine the implications of the research approaches for the conclusions drawn by the different readings point out central problems that the readings fail to address extend the implications of one reading into the conclusions of another and so forth Brehm will be glad to assist with selection of these topics The final assignment takes one of two forms either a research design proposal or a fullfledged research project This research design should identify an unstudied problem in public opinion explain why this problem deserves attention and argue for a research program to explore this problem The scope of the research problem should be something that one might complete as a dissertation The research project should identify an interesting problem in the study of public opinion examine primary or secondary data but not tertiary analyses of such data and draw meaningful conclusions See Brehm for help on either of these The following books are on order in the Seminary Coop Alvarez and Brehm Hard Choices Easy Answers Sniderman Brody and Tetlock Reasoning and Choice on back order Zaller Nature and Origins of Mass Opinion Erikson MacKuen and Stimson The Macro Polity Suggested

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