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
    • 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)