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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: POSC 395
Course Title: *Political Science and Public Administration 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 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.  

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 or Social Science research text which familiarizes the students with the process generally as well as statistical analysis.

Empirical Political Analysis
By Brians, Willnat, Mannheim, and Rich (Pearson)
Political Science Research Methods
By Johnson and Joslyn (Congressional Quarterly Press)
Research Methods in Political Science: An Introduction Using MicroCase
By Michael Corbett (MicroCase)
Researching the Polity: a Handbook of Scope and Methods
By Jones, Laurence & Edward Johnson
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Practice formulating research questions, testable hypotheses and operationalizing variables.
  2. Describe and explain the use of various methods for political research, such as the experimental method, sampling techniques, survey instruments, content analysis, participant observation and field research, and secondary data analysis.
  3. Identify and utilize appropriate methods of analyzing information quantitatively.
  4. Develop a research design or paper containing, at minimum, the following elements: introduction, literature review, hypotheses and methods.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:

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
    • Formulating Hypotheses
  • Literature review
    • Purpose of review
    • Conducting a review
  • The nature of causation
    • Finding causes in political science
    • Explaining causation
  • Measurement
    • Operationalizing variables
    • Validity
    • Reliability
  • Research design
    • Experimental design
    • Non-experimental designs
    • Other types of designs
  • Data collection
    • Field research
    • Survey research
    • Sampling
    • Secondary Data
    • Content Analysis
  • Data analysis
    • Univariate statistics
    • Bivariate statistics
  • Multivariate statistics

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Brian Kessel Date: February 13, 2017
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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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