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Political Science 300 Scope and Methods of Political Science.

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Presentation on theme: "Political Science 300 Scope and Methods of Political Science."— Presentation transcript:


2 Political Science 300 Scope and Methods of Political Science

3 The Value of POSC 300 - 1 I. Learn Research Methods of Political Science that will also be Important for Your Career A. In Law, Business and Government Understanding Statistical Analysis is Essential

4 The Value of POSC 300 - 2 B. The Term Paper in POSC 300 can be DIRECTLY Submitted when Applying for Either Graduate School or Employment. 1. Political Science is a “Generalist” Degree.

5 The Value of POSC 300 - 3 2. While Political Science Teaches many Useful Skills (e.g., Critical Thinking), both Employers and Professional Graduate Degree Programs Need to See You APPLY Skills they Value to Problems they Would Like to See Addressed. 3. The Term Paper in POSC 300 Embodies both the Research Methods of Political Science and Practical Application.

6 Course Materials I. No Books to Buy! II. All Materials are Available at my Website: (Click on “Courses”)

7 Do Not FEAR Statistics I. POSC 300 Assumes NO Prior Background in Statistics II. The Mathematical Component of POSC 300 is LOWER than Required for Admittance to CSULB

8 Grading System - 1 I. Grades in this Section of POSC 300 will be very Similar to Grades in the other Sections of POSC 300 and Upper Division Political Science Courses

9 Grading System - 2 II. Your Grade is Based on 3 Equally Weighted Factors: (1) Your Total Score on the Unannounced Quizzes (less your lowest 3 scores); (2) the Term Paper; and (3) the Final Examination

10 Make Use of Me! I. Office Hours: M,W – 8:45-9:30; 2:00- 2:30 in – SPA-227 II. Home Phone: (562) 597-7287 2:00-5:30 Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (No Messages - I Don’t Return Phone Calls) A. CALL – Email Isn’t Good for Statistical Questions

11 Normative and Empirical - 1 Normative political science deals with what ought to occur. For example, what is the proper concept of justice? This is the focus of reading assignment #2. Empirical political science deals with using observation and data to test theories about how the world actually works.

12 Normative and Empirical - 2 Normative theory is very useful to empirical political science. It suggests questions that are worthy of study. POSC 300 deals primarily with empirical political science. Hence the role of statistics and case studies.

13 Discussion - 1 Using research methods is the second half of political science; developing causal theories is the first half. “Theoretical” work – proposes theories about how the political world works and states testable hypotheses. vs. “Empirical” work – tests these hypotheses by using quantitative and qualitative research methods.

14 Discussion - 2 ONE GOAL unites ALL of the METHODS we will study: isolating the effect of a single causal factor. In the complex political world, most theories posit that there are multiple causes of a given event. Experimental, quantitative, and qualitative research methods ALL seek to keep the influence of each causal factor separate.

15 Discussion - 3 There may be lies, damned lies, and statistics, but at least statistics are transparent. Over 100 years of traditions that guide researchers about what to do and report. Thought Experiment: If someone discovered a new planet, what would you want them to bring back? Stories, a journal, a handful of interviews, or data?

16 Example: Civil Wars Are poor nations more likely to experience civil war? A quantitative study can look at the correlation between per capita income and the incidence of civil war. A qualitative study can compare a few countries in a systematic way in order to trace the relationship between poverty and conflict.

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