PSC 202: Introduction to Political Analysis

CLASS INFORMATION
Monday and Wednesday, 11:40 - 12:35, Falk 104

INSTRUCTOR
Prof. Simon Weschle
Email: swweschl@syr.edu, Phone: 315-443-8678
Student Hours: Monday, 1:00 - 3:00, Eggers 530 or Zoom (see Syllabus for details)

TEACHING ASSISTANTS
Katharine Russell, kbrussel@syr.edu
Sections: 101 (Friday 10:35-11:30) and 104 (Friday 12:45-1:40)
Student Hours: Thu 9:30-11:00, Eggers 306G

Jingding Wang, jwang294@syr.edu
Sections: 102 (Friday 10:35-11:30) and 103 (Friday 12:45-1:40)
Student Hours: Thu 12:30-2:00, Eggers 027

COURSE DESCRIPTION
The purpose of this course, required for political science majors, is to build skills for conducting, interpreting, and presenting political science research. These skills include: basic research and data collection practices, techniques for measuring political science concepts quantitatively, hypothesis testing, interpretation of statistical evidence, and the presentation of findings in a clear and compelling manner. Tying these components together is a thematic focus on important political science concepts such as democracy, power, or representation.

TEXTBOOK
Pollock, Philip H. and Barry C. Edwards (2019): The Essentials of Political Analysis. 6th Edition. CQ Press.
I will refer to the book as EPA. You have access to this book through Orange Instant Access (OIA). You are automatically enrolled and the book will be accessible via Blackboard. You will have until September 20th, 2021, 11:59PM EDT to decide if you would like to remain enrolled in OIA. If not, you have been provided instructions on opting out by the campus store. After September 20th, 2021, 11:59PM EDT, the cost of your material ($41.30) will be charged to your SU Bursar account. If you opt out, you can rent/buy the book from Amazon, CQ/Sage, or your favorite book retailer as hardcover, paperback, or e-book (make sure it's the 6th edition). The book is also available to check out for a short period of time from the Library Course Reserves. All other readings will be posted to Blackboard.

ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING

  • Class Participation (10%): Blackboard quizzes on lectures and readings, other tasks.
  • Exams (40%): Take place on October 4, November 1, and December 8.
  • Problem Sets (30%): Approximately weekly, due on Fridays.
  • Discussion Section (20%): See separate section syllabus.

SYLLABUS
For more detailed information on assignments, class policies, and all of the fine print, please see the Syllabus.

CLASS SCHEDULE
Below is a continuously updated class schedule. It contains information on what topics we are covering as well as on the readings and assignments. Please check this site EVERY WEEK.

Week 1

  • Monday (8/30): Introduction to the Course
  • Wednesday (9/1): Studying Politics Scientifically
    • Slides
    • Reading 1: Shepsle, Kenneth A. (2010): "It Isn't Rocket Science, but..." p. 3-6. (Blackboard)
    • Reading 2: Monroe, Alan D. (2000): "The Scientific Study of Research Questions." p. 1-12. (Blackboard)

Week 2

  • Monday (9/6): No Class (Labor Day)
  • Wednesday (9/8): Research Questions in Political Science
    • Slides
    • Reading: Barakso, Maryann, Daniel M. Sabet, and Brian F. Schaffner (2014): "The Research Question." (Blackboard)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 1 (due 9/17)

Week 3

  • Monday (9/13): Developing Theories in Political Science
    • Slides
    • Reading: Barakso, Maryann, Daniel M. Sabet, and Brian F. Schaffner (2014): "Linking Theory and Inference." (Blackboard)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (9/15): Concepts and Measurement
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 1
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 1 due on Friday (9/17 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 2 (due 9/24)

Week 4

  • Monday (9/20): Variables
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 2, Sections "Essential Features" and "Levels of Measurement"
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (9/22): Describing Variables
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 2, Section "Describing Variables"
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Please complete the class survey (Link in slides from Wednesday)!
  • Problem Set 2 due on Friday (9/24 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 3 (due 10/1)

Week 5

  • Monday (9/27): Sampling and Surveys
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 6, Sections "Population Parameters and Sample Statistics" and "The Central Limit Theorem and the Normal Distribution"
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (9/29): More on Sampling and Surveys, Exam Review
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 6, Sections "Quantifying Standard Errors" and "Confidence Intervals"
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 3 due on Friday (10/1 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)

Week 6

  • Monday (10/4): Exam 1
  • Wednesday (10/6): More on Sampling and Surveys, Hypotheses and Causality
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 3, Section "Framing Hypotheses"
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 4 (due 10/15)

Week 7

  • Monday (10/11): Observational Research Designs: Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses
    • Slides
    • Reading: Cook, Gareth (2019): "The Economist Who Would Fix the American Dream." The Atlantic (Blackboard)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (10/13): Qualitative Analyses
    • Slides
    • Reading: Parry, Marc (2013): "The American Police State." The Chronicle of Higher Education. (Blackboard)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 4 due on Friday (10/15 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 5 (due 10/22)

Week 8

  • Monday (10/18): More on Qualitative Analyses
    • Slides
    • Reading: He, Kai (2013): "Case Study and the Comparative Method." (Blackboard)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (10/20): Bivariate Hypothesis Testing
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 3 (Sections "Making Comparisons" and "Graphing Relationships and Describing Patterns") and EPA Ch. 8 (Introduction and Section "Correlation")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 5 due on Friday (10/22 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 6 (due 10/29)

Week 9

  • Monday (10/25): More Bivariate Hypothesis Testing
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 8 (Section "Bivariate Regression")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (10/27): More Bivariate Hypothesis Testing, Exam Review
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 8 (Sections "Educational Attainment and Voter Turnout in States Example" and "R-Square")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 6 due on Friday (10/29 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)

Week 10

  • Monday (11/1): Exam 2
  • Wednesday (11/3): More Bivariate Hypothesis Testing, Hypothesis Testing When Using a Sample
    • Slides
    • Reading: Review again EPA Ch. 8 (Sections "Bivariate Regression", "Educational Attainment and Voter Turnout in States Example", and "R-Square")

Week 11

  • Monday (11/8): More Hypothesis Testing When Using a Sample
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 7 (Introduction and Sections "Statistical Significance and Null Hypothesis Testing", "One-Sample Significance Tests", and "Two-Sample Significance Tests")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (11/10): Hypothesis Testing with One Confounder
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 5 (Introduction and Sections "The Logic of Controlled Comparisons", "Essential Terms and Concepts", "Effect of Partisanship on Gun Control, Controlling for Gender")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 7 (due 11/19)

Week 12

  • Monday (11/15): More Hypothesis Testing with One Confounder
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 5 (Sections "Controlled Mean Comparisons" and "Identifying Patterns")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (11/17): Multiple Regression
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 8 (Section "Multiple Regression" up to the end of the "Regression with Multiple Dummy Variables" subsection)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 7 due on Friday (11/19 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 8 (due 12/3)
  • Section Assignment (due 12/3 on Blackboard)

Week 13

  • Monday (11/29): Multiple Regression in Practice
  • Wednesday (12/1): Experimental Research Designs
    • Slides
    • Reading: Brunetti, Aymo and Beatrice Weder (2003): "A Free Press is Bad News for Corruption." Journal of Public Economics 87(7): 1801-1824. (Blackboard, Application of Linear Regression)
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Study Guide Slides, Exam 3
  • Problem Set 8 due on Friday (12/3 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Section Assignment also due on Friday (12/3 10 AM, submit on Blackboard)
  • Problem Set 9 (due 12/14)

Week 14

  • Monday (12/6): More Experimental Research Designs, Exam Review
    • Slides
    • Reading: EPA Ch. 4 (Sections "Experimental Designs" and "Conducting Research Ethically")
    • Multiple Choice Quiz due (11.40 AM, Blackboard)
  • Wednesday (12/8): Exam 3

Finals Week