Dr. John J. Quinn
Political Science Methodology
Political Science 300
Office: McClain 111A x4578
In this course, students learn the fundamentals concerning the science of political science – or how “to do” empirical political science research. We explore the differences between inductive and deductive inquiry, how the "normal" research process unfolds, how to construct theories, how to test theories, and how to operationalize variables in order to engage in a conversation about testing. We also examine some of the basics vis-à-vis the formation of hypotheses, testing hypotheses, the collection of data, the preparations of a literature review, and how to prepare a research paper– in fact, the writing of a research paper is among the most important assignments in the course. This class will also present the basic ideas and concepts of statistics and how they can illustrated the relationships among and between variables (e.g., measurements of central tendency, measures of association, measures of statistical significance). Students will have practical "hands-on" experience with such statistical techniques using the program SPSS.
Manheim, Jarol B, Richard C. Rich, and Lars Willnat. Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods
in Political Science 5th Edition. White Plains, NY: Longman Publishers USA, 1995.
Scott, Gregory M., and Stephen M. Garrison, The Political Science Student Writer’s Manual.
George, Darren and Paul Mallery, SPSS for Windows: Step by Step 11.0. Boston: Pearson Education, 2003.
W. Phillips Shively, The Craft of Political Research 6th Ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, 2005
Also, feel free to use the Guide for writing research located on the Political Science homepage at Truman. You can locate this through my website, Dr. Parker’s homepage. Also, my website, Dr. Parker's website, Dr. Ishiyama’s homepage or the political science websites are links for valuable data (lots and lots of data!!) as well as how to write a research paper.
Students will complete several homework assignment which will be handed out in class. The due dates will be given with the assignment [make sure you find out what is going on if you ditch class!!!]. I will also have copies on my door. Students are also required to turn in a research design project including several steps — each of which will be graded along the way. There will also be three exams and a presentation of the research design to the class as a whole. The grading will be as follows:
|Homework and Computer Assignments (9 * 20 each)||180|
|Topic and Annotated Bibliography||25|
|Presentation of Research||75|
|Attendance & Participation||70|
Attendance will be taken every day and accounts for a majority of your participation grade, though participation is required to achieve the highest marks. [According to Woody Allen, ninety percent of life is just showing up.] However, just showing up and never participating (or not participating in a constructive manner) will only result in a grade of about a 75% of the total. [So being a bump on a log is not A level work.] Homework will be passed out in class and the due dates given then. They will be centered upon data collection and manipulation in SPSS. Attention !!! All assignments are due at the beginning of each class, and late ones will be marked down for tardiness. The penalty will be two points a day for homework materials (beginning at the beginning of the class); however, the Research Design and Presentation of research MUST be prepared for the arranged day — unless other arrangements are made beforehand. If problems ensue, contact me immediately.