Matthew A Barreto
POL S 501
Third methods course in political research. Testing theories with empirical evidence. Examines current topics in research methods and statistical analysis in political science. Content varies according to recent developments in the field and with interests of instructor. Offered: jointly with CS&SS 501.
This is the second course in a graduate sequence on research design and data analysis. Building on the foundations in POLS 500, this course will teach you how to test your hypotheses in a rigorous and appropriate scientific manner. Even if empirical data analysis and statistics are not at the forefront of your research agenda, they play a very important role in political science research, books and articles today – so it is very important that everyone of us has a basic understanding of data analysis and regression models so we can read, write, understand, and critique the existing literature and scholarship in our subfield.
This course will be taught primarily using the statistical software package Stata, and as such, we will spend considerable time learning how to use Stata, and how to manage our various datasets. Knowing the math and statistics behind the analysis is essential, and you will learn this, however if you can not put it to practice correctly in a statistical package, that knowledge is not very useful. Thus, you will learn not only the statistics behind the curtain, but also learn, in-depth, how to create, use, manage, and analyze the data. Towards the end of the quarter, we will slowly transition over to a second statistical software package, R, so you can learn the basics of R which will be used in the following sequence, POLS 503, and POLS 510.
Finally, we will spend a considerable amount of time learning and practicing how to present your data analysis findings. If you can not present your research findings in a coherent and compelling way to your audience/reader, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your methods are. One of the most important things you can master as a scholar is being able to give a high quality presentation of research findings, including bullet points, data tables, charts and graphs.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading