Skip to main content

Search Bar Icon Close Menu

Online classes

Effective: Late Fall 8-Week, 2018/2019

POSC 395: Political Science And Public Administration Research Methods

Course Description

An introduction to the research processes used by political science and public administration. The scope of political science and public administration research and the methods used to address political and policy questions are studied. Cross-listed as PADM 395.

Prerequisite: Three previous courses in political science or public administration.

Proctored Exams: Midterm and Final



Syllabus Contents

Textbooks

Required

  • Johnson, Janet Buttolph and H.T. Reynolds with Jason D. Mycoff. (2016). Political Science Research Methods (8th ed). CQ Press.
    • [ISBN-978-1-5063-0782-4]
  • Le Roy, Michael K. (2013). Research Methods in Political Science: An Introduction Using MicroCase® (8th ed). Cengage Learning.
    • [ISBN-978-1-133-30930-7]
    • Note: An access card comes packaged with this book. This card contains an access code and a website address from which you can download the Student MicroCase software needed to complete the exercises in this book. You must have this card to obtain the software. Only one person may use this card. MicroCase software is geared for use with a PC. To run the software on a Macintosh, you will need emulation software or hardware installed. For more information about emulation software or hardware, check with your local Macintosh retailer or try the website http://macs.about. com.

MBS Information

Textbooks for the course may be ordered from MBS Direct. You can order

For additional information about the bookstore, visit http://www.mbsbooks.com.


Course Overview

The purpose of this course is to familiarize you with the theory and practice of conducting political research. In this course we will address how to develop research questions, measure political phenomena, gather political information and analyze that information quantitatively. The course should enable you to think more critically about data presented in academic works and the media. This course will also equip you with the tools to formulate and carry out your own original research project in PADM/POSC 495. Research Methods can often be an intimidating course because of the quantitative aspects, and we will be learning some fundamental statistical techniques. However, this is not a math course and the techniques that we will be using are accessible by you if you are willing to put the time into learning them. There will be a significant number of assignments and homework exercises in this course. My philosophy, based on experience as a student and teacher, is that methods are best learned through practice. The techniques you learn in this course will be essential to successfully complete PADM/POSC 495. Mastering them now will save you significant time later on. Most of all, I hope that you find the course stimulating and empowering. In this course, more than most others, you will gain an understanding of how professional scholars work and how to do that work yourself as you develop an original research project.


Technology Requirements

Participation in this course will require the basic technology for all online classes at Columbia College:
  • A computer with reliable Internet access
  • A web browser
  • Acrobat Reader
  • Microsoft Office or another word processor such as Open Office

You can find more details about standard technical requirements for our courses on our site.

System Requirements for MicroCase Software

• Windows XP or higher
• 120 MB of RAM (minimum)
• 60 MB of hard drive space
o Mactintosh users: This software was designed for use with a PC. To run the software on a Macintosh, you will need PC emulation software or hardware installed.

Course Objectives

  • To investigate the theory and practice of conducting political research.
  • To explore ways to measure political and policy phenomena and gather political information.
  • To analyze political and policy information quantitatively.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

  • Develop an appropriate design for a research project in the field of political science, containing the following elements: introduction, literature review, hypotheses and methods.
  • Describe the characteristics and assumptions of the scientific method.
  • Formulate political science research questions and testable hypotheses.
  • Distinguish among types of data.
  • Operationalize concepts and variables.
  • Assess the validity and reliability of measures.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of sampling techniques.
  • Practice developing survey instruments appropriate for political science research.
  • Explain the experimental, case study and participant observation methods.
  • Apply univeriate, bivariate and multivariate statistics to analyze quantitative data.

Grading

Grading Scale
Grade Points Percent
A 900-1000 90-100%
B 800-899 80-89%
C 700-799 70-79%
D 600-699 60-69%
F 0-599 0-59%
Grade Weights
Assignment Category Points Percent
Discussions (16) 160 16%
Homework (5) 100 10%
MicroCase Workbook (10) 200 20%
Research Design: Intro and Literature Review (2) 70 7%
Research Design Final Draft (1) 120 12%
Exams (2) 350 35%
Total 1000 100%


Schedule of Due Dates

Week 1
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 1 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 1 20 Friday
Discussion 2 10 Sunday
Introduction 0
Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz 0
Week 2
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 3 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 5 20 Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 4 20 Friday
Practice Exercise A 20
Discussion 4 10
Proctor Information N/A Sunday
Week 3
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 5 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 2 20 Friday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 3 20 Sunday
Practice Exercise B 20
Discussion 6 10
Week 4
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 7 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Discussion 8 10 Friday
Practice Exercise C 20 Sunday
Research Design Draft: Introduction 20
Midterm Exam 175
Week 5
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 9 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 6 20 Wednesday
Practice Exercise D 20 Friday
Discussion 10 10 Sunday
Research Design Draft: Revisied Introduction with Literature Review 50
Week 6
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 11 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 9 20 Friday
Practice Exercise E 20 Sunday
Discussion 12 10
Week 7
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 13 10 Wednesday/Sunday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 8 20 Wednesday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 10 20 Friday
Discussion 14 10 Sunday
Research Design 120
Week 8
Assignment Points Due
Discussion 15 10 Wednesday/Saturday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 12 20 Friday
Discussion 16 10 Saturday
Final Exam 175
Total Points 1000

Assignment Overview

Reading assignments

Please complete the assigned readings prior to working on the assignments for the week. Some weeks will have supplemental readings for further study that will enhance the course material.

Discussions

There will be 2 discussion topics each week related to that week’s content. Students are required to make an original post in each topic. You must post at least 2 responses to other students each week. Students should make their initial post to the first Discussion topic each week by Wednesday at midnight. The initial post for the second Discussion topic is due by Sunday at midnight (with the exception of week 8.). Responses to other students in either topic must be made by Sunday at midnight. Points will be deducted for late posts made during the assigned week. No credit will be given for responses posted after Sunday at midnight.

Homework

Homework will consist of completion of workbook chapters in Research Methods in Political Science: An Introduction Using MicroCase®, as well as Practice Exercises assigned by the instructor. The purpose of homework is to provide you with practical experience using the concepts and tools described in your texts. MicroCase Chapters will be submitted in the Quizzes area and Practice Exercises will be submitted to the Dropbox. Be sure to complete all assignments completely and submit them on time by their assigned due dates.

Research Design

One of the major goals of the course is to prepare you to conduct your senior research project for PADM/POSC 495. Therefore, the major assignment for the course is the production of a research design for that project. Your research design will consist of the following elements: Introduction (containing your thesis and research question), Literature Review, Hypotheses and Methods. We will be working on this project throughout the semester, and I encourage students to discuss and share their ideas, successes and difficulties with me and with each other. This is the kind of collaboration that political scientists are constantly engaged in. Students will be required to turn in an introduction and literature review in Weeks 5 and 6 with a final research design due during Week 7. Full instructions for both can be found in the Content area of the course.

Exams

There will be two exams, a Midterm and a Final. The exams will consist of multiple choice, practical exercises and essay questions. The final exam is not cumulative. These exams will be taken through the Quizzes area of the course, and they must be proctored. Please see Proctor Policy below. The Midterm and Final exams are closed notes and closed book, and you may not use the web or any other materials to assist you on the exams. The use of cell phones, pagers or flash drives is also prohibited.


Course Outline

Click on each week to view details about the activities scheduled for that week.

Week 1: Studying Politics Scientifically
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 1 & 2
• Le Roy: Chapter 1
Discussion 1
Question pertaining to the scientific study of politics. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 1
Instructions for each week’s homework can be found in the Content area of the course.
• Please complete MicroCase Ch. 1 homework in the Quizzes area by midnight Friday.
Discussion 2
Question pertaining to use of political data by media and politicians. Due Sunday.
Introduction
Introduce yourself in the "Introductions" topic of the Discussions area of the course. Please give us more than your name. Include your profession, hobbies, interest in politics/public administration, and any other information that can help us get to know you. Please post your response in the appropriate topic by midnight Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor homework tips and post your questions about the week’s MicroCase homework.
Plagiarism Tutorial Quiz
View the Plagiarism Tutorial in the Content area of the course and take the Plagiarism Quiz in the Quizzes area of the course. This assignment is not graded but will help you understand plagiarism and how to avoid it.
Week 2: The Building Blocks of Social Scientific Research I
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 3 & 4
• Le Roy: Chapters 4 & 5
Discussion 3
Question pertaining to selecting a research question. Develop ideas for your own research question. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 5
Instructions for each week’s homework can be found in the Content area of the course.
• MicroCase Ch. 5. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Sunday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 4
Instructions for each week’s homework can be found in the Content area of the course.
• MicroCase Ch. 4. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Friday.
Practice Exercise A
Complete and submit in the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Discussion 4
Question pertaining to developing hypotheses. Develop hypotheses that could be tested in your own research project. Due Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor comments and homework tips and post your questions about the week’s MicroCases and Practice Exercise.
Proctor Information
Submit your proctor form to the appropriate Dropbox folder by the end of the week. Remember to “Save” the form before placing it in Dropbox. See the Content area for more information.
Week 3: The Building Blocks of Social Scientific Research II
Readings
• Johnson: Chapter 5
• Le Roy: Chapters 2 & 3
Discussion 5
Question pertaining to reliability and validity. Due Wednesday
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 2
MicroCase Ch. 2. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Friday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 3
Instructions for each week’s homework can be found in the Content area of the course.
• MicroCase Ch. 3. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Sunday.
Practice Exercise B
Complete and submit in the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Discussion 6
Question pertaining to operationalizing concepts. Operationalize concepts that you might use in your own research project. Due Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor comments and homework tips, and post your questions about the week’s MicroCases and Practice Exercise.
Week 4: Research Design
Readings
• Johnson: Chapter 6
Discussion 7
Question pertaining to causal and spurious relationships. Due Wednesday.
Discussion 8
Question pertaining to experiments. Due Friday.
Practice Exercise C
Complete and submit in the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Research Design Draft: Introduction
Research design Introduction, including Research Question, due in the appropriate dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor comments and homework tips, and post your questions about the week’s Practice Exercise and research design drafting.
Midterm Exam
Please take the proctored Midterm Exam. The exam will be open from Tuesday through Sunday. Students will have 2 hours to take the exam. The exam will consist of multiple choice questions, practical exercises and essay questions and cover the material through Week 4.
Week 5: Sampling and Surveys
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 7 & 10
• Le Roy: Chapter 6
Discussion 9
Question pertaining to the challenge of sampling error. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 6
MicroCase Ch. 6. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Wednesday.
Practice Exercise D
Complete and submit in the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight Friday.
Discussion 10
Question pertaining to the design of survey instruments. Due Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor comments and homework tips, and post your questions about the week’s MicroCase, Practice Exercise and research design drafting.
Research Design Draft: Revisied Introduction with Literature Review
Research design revised Introduction with Literature Review due in the appropriate dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Week 6: Empirical Observations and Documentary Analysis
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 8, 9 & 15
• Le Roy: Chapter 9
Discussion 11
Question pertaining to ethics in research. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 9
MicroCase Ch. 9. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Friday.
Practice Exercise E
Complete and submit in the appropriate Dropbox folder by midnight Sunday.
Discussion 12
Question pertaining to the challenges and rewards of direct observation. Due Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor homework tips and post your questions about the week’s MicroCase and Practice Exercise.
Course Evaluation
Please evaluate the course. You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link sent to your CougarMail will allow you to access the evaluation. Please note that these evaluations are provided so that I can improve the course, find out what students perceive to be its strengths and weaknesses, and in general assess the success of the course. Please do take the time to fill this out.
Week 7: Statistical Analysis I
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 11 & 12
• Le Roy: Chapters 8 & 10
Discussion 13
Question pertaining to descriptive statistics. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 8
MicroCase Ch. 8. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 10
Instructions for each week’s homework can be found in the Content area of the course.
• MicroCase Ch. 10. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Friday.
Discussion 14
Question pertaining to significance testing. Due Sunday.
Homework Forum
View instructor comments and homework tips, and post your questions about the week’s MicroCases and your final draft of the research design.
Research Design
Please submit your Research Design to the appropriate folder in the Dropbox area by midnight Sunday. Your research design will consist of the following elements: Introduction (containing your thesis and research question), Literature Review, Hypotheses and Methods. It should be about 12 pages, not including the bibliography and be completed in APA style. The complete details regarding the assignment can be found in the Content area.
Week 8: Statistical Analysis II
Readings
• Johnson: Chapters 13 & 14
• Le Roy: Chapters 12
Discussion 15
Question pertaining to bivariate statistics. Due Wednesday.
Homework: MicroCase Ch. 12
MicroCase Ch. 12. Complete in the Quizzes area by midnight Wednesday.
Discussion 16
Question pertaining to multivariate statistics. Due Saturday.
Homework Forum
Post your questions about the week’s MicroCase.
Final Exam
Please take the proctored Final Exam. The exam will be open from Tuesday through Saturday. Students will have 2 hours to take the exam. The exam will consist of multiple choice questions, practical exercises and essay questions and cover the material from Weeks 5-8.


Course Policies

Student Conduct

All Columbia College students, whether enrolled in a land-based or online course, are responsible for behaving in a manner consistent with Columbia College's Student Conduct Code and Acceptable Use Policy. Students violating these policies will be referred to the office of Student Affairs and/or the office of Academic Affairs for possible disciplinary action. The Student Code of Conduct and the Computer Use Policy for students can be found in the Columbia College Student Handbook. The Handbook is available online; you can also obtain a copy by calling the Student Affairs office (Campus Life) at 573-875-7400. The teacher maintains the right to manage a positive learning environment, and all students must adhere to the conventions of online etiquette.

Plagiarism

Your grade will be based in large part on the originality of your ideas and your written presentation of these ideas. Presenting the words, ideas, or expression of another in any form as your own is plagiarism. Students who fail to properly give credit for information contained in their written work (papers, journals, exams, etc.) are violating the intellectual property rights of the original author. For proper citation of the original authors, you should reference the appropriate publication manual for your degree program or course (APA, MLA, etc.). Violations are taken seriously in higher education and may result in a failing grade on the assignment, a grade of "F" for the course, or dismissal from the College.

Collaboration conducted between students without prior permission from the instructor is considered plagiarism and will be treated as such. Spouses and roommates taking the same course should be particularly careful.

All required papers may be submitted for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers may be included in the Turnitin.com reference database for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. This service is subject to the Terms and Conditions of Use posted on the Turnitin.com site.

Non-Discrimination

There will be no discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, ideology, political affiliation, veteran status, age, physical handicap, or marital status.

Student Accessibility Resources

Students with documented disabilities who may need academic services for this course are required to register with the office of Student Accessibility Resources. Until the student has been cleared through this office, accommodations do not have to be granted. If you are a student who has a documented disability, it is important for you to read the entire syllabus as soon as possible. The structure or the content of the course may make an accommodation not feasible. Student Accessibility Resources is located in Student Affairs in AHSC 215 and can be reached by phone at (573) 875-7626 or email at sar@ccis.edu.

Online Participation

You are expected to read the assigned texts and participate in the discussions and other course activities each week. Assignments should be posted by the due dates stated on the grading schedule in your syllabus. If an emergency arises that prevents you from participating in class, please let your instructor know as soon as possible.

Attendance Policy

Attendance for a week will be counted as having submitted any assigned activity for which points are earned. Attendance for the week is based upon the date work is submitted. A class week is defined as the period of time between Monday and Sunday (except for week 8, when the work and the course will end on Saturday at midnight.) The course and system deadlines are based on the Central Time Zone.

Cougar Email

All students are provided a CougarMail account when they enroll in classes at Columbia College. You are responsible for monitoring email from that account for important messages from the College and from your instructor. You may forward your Cougar email account to another account; however, the College cannot be held responsible for breaches in security or service interruptions with other email providers.

Students should use email for private messages to the instructor and other students. The class discussions are for public messages so the class members can each see what others have to say about any given topic and respond.

Late Assignment Policy

An online class requires regular participation and a commitment to your instructor and your classmates to regularly engage in the reading, discussion and writing assignments. Although most of the online communication for this course is asynchronous, you must be able to commit to the schedule of work for the class for the next eight weeks. You must keep up with the schedule of reading and writing to successfully complete the class.

No late discussion posts will be accepted.

Dropbox assignments will be marked down ½ grade for each day that they are late.

Course Evaluation

You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course near the end of the session. A link will be sent to your CougarMail that will allow you to access the evaluation. Be assured that the evaluations are anonymous and that your instructor will not be able to see them until after final grades are submitted.

Proctor Policy

Students taking courses that require proctored exams must submit their completed proctor request forms to their instructors by the end of the second week of the session. Proctors located at Columbia College campuses are automatically approved. The use of ProctorU services is also automatically approved. The instructor of each course will consider any other choice of proctor for approval or denial. Additional proctor choices the instructor will consider include: public librarians, high school or college instructors, high school or college counseling services, commanding officers, education service officers, and other proctoring services. Personal friends, family members, athletic coaches and direct supervisors are not acceptable.


Additional Resources

Orientation for New Students

This course is offered online, using course management software provided by Desire2Learn and Columbia College. The course user guide provides details about taking an online course at Columbia College. You may also want to visit the course demonstration to view a sample course before this one opens.

Technical Support

If you have problems accessing the course or posting your assignments, contact your instructor, the Columbia College Helpdesk, or the D2L Helpdesk for assistance. Contact information is also available within the online course environment.

Online Tutoring

Smarthinking is a free online tutoring service available to all Columbia College students. Smarthinking provides real-time online tutoring and homework help for Math, English, and Writing. Smarthinking also provides access to live tutorials in writing and math, as well as a full range of study resources, including writing manuals, sample problems, and study skills manuals. You can access the service from wherever you have a connection to the Internet. I encourage you to take advantage of this free service provided by the college.

Access Smarthinking through CougarTrack under Students -> Academics -> Academic Resources.


+

Request info