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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 390
Course Title: Political Science Research Methods
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description: An introduction to the research processes used by political science. The scope of political science research and the methods used to address political questions are studied. Prerequisite: Three previous courses in political science or government.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s): Three previous courses in political science or government.
Course Rotation for Day Program: Offered even Fall.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Any standard Political Science research text which familiarizes the students with the process generally as well as statistical analysis.

Doing Empirical Political Research
By James Carlson and Mark Hyde (Houghton Mifflin)
Political Science Research Methods
By Johnson and Joslyn (Congressional Quarterly Press)
The Craft of Political Research
By W. Phillips Shively (Prentice Hall)
The Practice of Social Research
By Earl R. Babbie (Wadsworth)
Research Methods in Political Science: An Introduction Using MicroCase
By Michael Corbett (MicroCase)
Course Objectives
  • To investigate the theory and practice of conducting political research.
  • To explore ways to measure political phenomena and gather political information.
  • To analyze political information quantitatively.
  • To prepare a research design for a political science research project.
    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.
    Topical Outline:
  • An introduction to political science and political research
  • An overview of political research.
    - The scientific method
    - Deduction and induction theory
    - The research topic or problem
    - Motivations for research
  • Literature review
    - Purpose of review
    - Conducting a review
  • Research by the subfields of political science
    - American government
    - Public administration
    - Comparative politics
    - International relations
  • The nature of causation
    - Finding causes in political science
    - Explaining causation
  • Measurement
    - Linking measurement and association
    - Validity
    - Reliability
  • Research design
    - Units of analysis
    - Experimental design
    - Non-experimental designs
    - Other types of designs
  • Data collection
    - Field research
    - Survey research
    - Sampling
  • Data analysis
    - Univariate statistics
    - Bivariate statistics
    - Multivariate statistics


    Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

    Library Resources:

    Online databases are available at http://www.ccis.edu/offices/library/index.asp. You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

    Prepared by: David Roebuck Date: January 9, 2005
    NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

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