Katherine J Banks
POL S 205
Methodological perspectives of the various social science disciplines: commonalties and differences in assumptions, values, and paradigms. Current issues from the multiple perspective of social sciences; limits of the social sciences in resolving key social issues. Offered: W.
This course introduces the methodology of political and social science research to enable students to become better consumers and producers of social science. New research is one of the most exciting and most important aspects of political science: we are able to pose novel questions, construct or adapt relevant theories, and provide new evidence about the way the world works. But, before we start doing research, we have to learn how it is done. With this in mind, this course will introduce students to techniques used for research in the study of politics. Part of this task is conceptual: to help students to think sensibly and systematically about research design; students will learn how data and theory go together and how to measure the quantities we care about. Part of the task is practical: students will learn a methods â€œtoolbox,â€? including statistical software.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is not a statistics course, but we will focus some time on quantitative methodology. No prior exposure to quantitative methods is assumed, nor is any mathematical training beyond standard high school math required. Prior exposure to one or more of the social sciences will make readings more approachable. This course is particularly relevant for students who are currently engaged in or considering an undergraduate research project. Non-majors are also welcome.
Class assignments and grading