Fall 2017

Dr. Mario Guerrero

**Email:** mag@cpp.edu

**Office Phone: **(909) 869-3885

**Meeting Time: **MW 8:00 – 9:30AM; MW 9:30 – 10:30AM

**Classroom & Lab Location**: Building 6, Room 229

**Office Hours: ** MW 1:00 – 2:00PM; F 1:00 – 3:00PM; And by appointment

**Office Location: **94-316

### What is this course about?

This course is an introduction to research in political science. Political science is one of the many disciplines found in the broader academic area of social science. As social scientists, professors in the discipline are expected to act as researchers, developing their own area of expertise within one of the many subfields of political science. Like the hard sciences, social science researchers approach their work using the scientific method. This approach is quite different than the advocacy approach that politicians, interest groups, and citizens use when making policy-related appeals to government. Examining political phenomena entails an appreciation of how questions are asked, clearly answering questions, and drawing inferences using research methodology.

Using a hands-on, learn-by-doing approach, this course is intended to give you the tools and training to undertake research in political science. At the completion of the course, you will have the knowledge of how to complete your own original research project. In addition, this course will give students a fundamental appreciation of the academic work assigned as readings in other political science classes. You should be able to read and understand advanced political science research and critically assess the weaknesses and drawbacks of the approaches that scholars choose to take in their respective studies. A significant portion of this class is also dedicated to statistical analysis using SPSS, a user-friendly computer program that is similar to Microsoft Excel.

This course is fundamentally different than any other class you will take in the department. The skills you develop in this course are important for understanding the academic discipline, but these skills are becoming increasingly important in order to work effectively in various professions: government, policy, legal, business, or journalistic. At the culmination of this course, you will be asked to present an effective argument, drawing on library research skills to analyze quantitative data. One of the most important goals of good social science research is communicating the results of your work clearly and professionally to colleagues, policymakers, and citizens. This class will give you the opportunity to further develop these skills and has been described as both challenging and demanding. Nonetheless, given the importance of these objectives, we hope this will be a rewarding experience.

**What books do we need?**

Salkind, N.J. 2017. Statistics for People (Who Think) They Hate Statistics*. 6*th Edition. Sage Publications.

The Bronco Bookstore lists the textbook for $93.75 new and $56.85 rental. Amazon.com has cheaper prices than this. Please make sure to use the 6th or 5th edition of the book, as the other editions of the textbook are outdated. If you use an earlier edition of the textbook, you are responsible for the differences between editions.

**Course Requirements**

10% **Attendance and Participation**: Students are expected to be present, on time, and actively engage in classroom activities. Each lecture counts as a point. You lose 1/2 point for tardiness. Absences and tardiness will not be excused under any circumstances.

25% **Quizzes and Activities**: This component of your grade is split between two different types of assignments: unannounced in-class quizzes and in-class activities. Quizzes will be based on both recent lectures and assigned reading. Quizzes are independent and closed notes. Activities will be based on the topic under discussion in lecture. Activities will be group-based and open notes. The proportion of each for your grade is based on your performance on the quizzes:

Individual Quiz Score | Quiz Percentage | Activity Percentage |

100-91% | 20 | 5 |

90-81% | 15 | 10 |

80-71% | 10 | 15 |

70-61% | 5 | 20 |

60% and below | 0 | 25 |

30% **Practicums**: Two practicums, in-class exams using SPSS, will test your application of the various techniques, tools, and comprehension of the program. The first practicum is on Monday, October 16. The second practicum is on Wednesday, November 15.

35% **Paper**: The paper (10-12 pages) is an original research paper, where you will ask and answer your own question using data analysis. The paper is due on Wednesday, November 29.

**Grade Appeals**. The period for grade appeals begins 24 hours after an assignment is handed back. The grade appeal must be made within a week of receiving the grade. The appeal must be written and made during office hours.

**Course Schedule**

Please note the following schedule is subject to change throughout the quarter. The readings listed are required *before* each lecture.

**Week 1 (9/25-9/29): Introduction to Research Methods.**

**Monday, September 25. **** **Course Introduction. What is political science? What is research methods? What will be expected of me?

*Key Terms: *political science, statistics, missing numbers, confusing numbers, authoritative numbers, scary numbers, data, qualitative, quantitative, inferential statistics, research methods

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 1

Lohr, S. 2008. “For Today’s Graduate, Just One Word: Statistics.” *New York Times*, 5 August.

*Powerpoint: *(PDF)

**Wednesday, September 27. **Scientific Research. What do academic researchers do? What is the scientific method? What are good research questions? How do you develop hypotheses? What are independent variables? What are dependent variables?

*Key Terms: *science, scientific method, question, hypothesis, testing, analysis, criteria for good research questions, criteria for good hypotheses, theory, directional hypothesis, nondirectional hypothesis, null hypothesis, variables, independent variable, dependent variable, intervening variable, extraneous variable

*Readings: *Salkind, Chapter 7

*Powerpoint: *(PDF)

*Activity 1, Part A: *(PDF)

**Week 2 (10/2-10/6): Quantifying Political Phenomena.**

**Monday, October 2. **Concepts and Measurement. What is causality? What is the difference between a concept and its measurement?

*Key Terms: *causality, conditions for casuality, correlation, causal mechanism, endogeneity, spurious variable, operationalization, concept, measurement, levels (or scales) of measurement, nominal variables, ordinal variables, categorical variables, interval variables, ratio variables, continuous variables, dichotomous/binary variables, reliability, test-retest reliability, validity, face validity

*SPSS Tools: *Variable view, data view

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 6

Lean, G. 2008. “Warning: Using a mobile phone while pregnant can seriously damage your baby.” *The Independent*, 18 May.

*Powerpoint: *(PDF)

*Activity 1, Part B: *(PDF)

*Spreadsheet: *(XLSX)

**Wednesday, October 4. **Descriptive Statistics. How do researchers describe the data that they are working with? What’s the difference between mean, median, and mode? What about standard deviation and variance?

*Key Terms: *descriptive statistics, central tendency, variability, outlier, mean, median, mode, frequency distributions, range, standard deviation, variance

*SPSS Tools: *Descriptive statistics (mean, median, mode, standard deviation, range, variance, n), histograms, bar graphs

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 2

Salkind, Chapter 3

Salkind, Chapter 4

*PowerPoint: *(PDF)

*Activity 2, Part A: *(PDF)

**Activity #1 Due:** Wednesday, October 4

**Week 3 (10/9-10/13): Understanding Statistical Inference.**

**Monday, October 9. **Statistical Inference. What is statistical significance and what does it have to do with probability? What are z-scores and how do we calculate them?

*Key Terms: *probability, frequency curves, the normal curve, peak, tails, characteristics of normal curve, 68-95-99 rule, z-scores, statistical significance

*SPSS Tools: *Z-scores

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 8

Salkind, pp. 177-196

*Powerpoint: *(PDF)

*Activity 2, Part B: *(PDF)

*Classroom Activity: *(XLSX)

*SPSS Worksheet: *(SAV)

**Wednesday, October 11. **Statistical Inference, Part II: How do we determine statistical significance?

*Key Terms: *Test statistics, observed values, test of significance

*Readings:* Salkind, pp. 188-195

Salkind, Chapter 10

*Powerpoint:* * *(PDF)

**Activity #2 Due: **Wednesday, October 11

### Week 4 (10/16-10/20): Practicum Week.

### Practicum #1. Monday, October 16, 2017

**Wednesday, October 18. **Research Design I. Surveys, content analysis, data analysis, experimental research. How do we set up research design? How do we work with data?

*Key Terms: *Research design, quantitative methodology, qualitative methodology, small-n, large-n, internal validity, external validity, content analysis, survey research, mailed questionnaires, telephone questionnaires, response rates, measurement error, question wording, question ordering, open-ended questions, close-ended questions, experiments, treatment groups, control groups, natural or quasi-experiments

*Readings: *Guerrero, M. 2017. “The Guide to Methodology.” *Senior Thesis Guide. *

*Powerpoint:* Coming soon

### Week 5 (10/23-10/27): Research Design.

**Monday, October 23. **Research Design II. Case studies, interviews, fieldwork, theoretical arguments. What is sampling?

*Key Terms: *Probability sampling, non-probability sampling, single random sample, cluster sample, stratified sample, purposive sample, convenience sample, quota sample, snowball sample, case studies, most-similar design, most-different design, quantitative case analysis, single case study, interviews, fieldwork, theoretical research

*Readings:* Keiger, D. 2007. “The Number.” *Johns Hopkins Magazine, *February.

*Powerpoint:* Coming soon

**Wednesday, October 25. **T-Tests. How do we determine if there are differences between two groups of individuals? How do we calculate a t-test?

*Key Terms: *T-tests, Independent Samples, one-tailed tests, two-tailed tests, degrees of freedom

*SPSS Tools: *T-test for Independent Samples, Recoding

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 11

Salkind, Chapter 12

*Powerpoint:* Coming soon

### Week 6 (10/30-11/3): Statistical Analysis: ANOVAs & Chi-square.

**Monday, October 30. **ANOVAs. How do we test the differences between multiple groups of individuals? How do we calculate ANOVAs?

*Key Terms: *Significance values, one-way ANOVA, F-statistic

*SPSS Tools: *One-way ANOVA

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 13

Salkind, Chapter 14

*Powerpoint: *Coming soon

**Activity #3 Due: **Monday, October 30

**Wednesday, November 1. **Chi-square. What does a chi-square test determine? How do we calculate chi-square? When is chi-square appropriate to use?

*Key Terms: *One-Sample Chi-square, observed value, expected value, Bivariate chi-square

*SPSS Tools: *One-Sample Chi-square, Crosstab, Bivariate chi-square

*Readings: *Salkind, Chapter 17

*Powerpoint: *Coming soon

### Week 7 (11/6-11/10): Statistical Analysis: Correlations & Regression.

**Monday, November 6. **Correlations.** **What is a correlation coefficient? What is the difference between correlation and causation?

*Key Terms: *Scatterplot, Direct Correlations, Indirect Correlations, Perfect Correlations, Pearson Coefficient

*SPSS Tools: *Scatterplot, Pearson Correlation

*Readings: *Salkind, Chapter 5

Salkind, Chapter 15

*Powerpoint: *Coming soon

**Activity #4 Due:** Monday, November 6

**Wednesday, November 8. **Regression. What is a regression? Why is a regression particularly powerful in statistics?

*Key Terms: *Regression, best line of fit, error in prediction, slope, y-intercept, constant, goodness of fit, r-square, multiple regression, control variables

*SPSS Tools: *Regression

*Readings:* Salkind, Chapter 16

*Powerpoint: *Coming soon

### Week 8 (11/13-11/17): Statistical Analysis: Correlations & Regression.

**Monday, November 13. **Review. What have we learned in the class thus far? How should we prepare for the exam?

*Readings: *None

*Powerpoint: *Coming soon

### Practicum #2. Wednesday, November 15, 2017

### Week 9 (11/20-11/24): Open Lab Days.

**Monday, November 20. **Catch-up & Open Lab Day.

*Readings:* None

*Powerpoint:* None

**Wednesday, November 22. **Catch-up & Open Lab Day.

*Readings:* None

*Powerpoint:* None

### Week 10 (11/27-12/1): Course Conclusion & Final Paper.

**Monday, November 27. **Catch-up & Open Lab Day.

*Readings:* None

*Powerpoint:* None

**Wednesday, November 29. **Course Conclusion: Why research methods?

*Readings:* None

*Powerpoint:* None

**Activity #5 Due:** Wednesday, November 29