PS 240: Introduction to Political Science
Fall 2009: MWF 10-10:50
Dr. Jeremy Walling Office: Carnahan 311R
Office phone: 651-2691
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://cstl-cla.semo.edu/walling/ps103
Office Hours: MW 9:30-10:00 and 11:00-12:00; or by appointment
This course covers the scope and methods of political science. The scope consists of the various topics and fields that form the questions that political scientists ask. The methods comprise the various tools and techniques that political scientists utilize to answer those questions. Practical politics will take up very little of our time in this course. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the various methods of political inquiry and to provide students with the capacity to apply methodology to political questions.
Required Texts—Johnson and Reynolds. Political Science Research Methods; Shively. Power and Choice (available at textbook rental).
Expectations—Students are expected to attend class having completed all reading assignments. Students are expected to submit all homework assignments by the stated deadline. Students are expected to participate in class discussions. Cell phones and other distracting electronic devices should not be used during class and students using such devices will be asked to leave. The official statement about attendance, derived from the Undergraduate Bulletin, may be accessed at: http://www.semo.edu/bulletin/pdf/2008Bulletin.pdf
Grades—Your grade in this course will be determined by your performance on three examinations, a research design project, periodic homework assignments and class participation. The grades will follow the traditional percentage scale (90%=A; 80%=B; 70%=C; 60%=D; Below 60%=F). Students are expected to maintain their own grade record, as no online gradebook will be utilized.
Exams (3@ 100 pts. each) = 300 pts.
Research Design Paper = 100 pts.
Homework = 50 pts.
Participation = 50 pts.
Total = 500 pts.
Examinations—Each exam will contain only the material covered in each stated unit of the course. In that sense, the exams will not be comprehensive. However, the course is cumulative in nature and each exam will build on material from the previous course units. Make-up exams must be scheduled in advance and supporting documentation must be provided. Students missing exams due to university sponsored activities should inform the instructor during the first two weeks of the semester.
Research Design Paper—Students will use tools and techniques presented in the course to design a research project. Students are not expected to actually complete the research project. However, each paper should contain the following sections: a statement of the research question; a review of the relevant scholarly literature on the research question; a statement on the data you would expect to collect to answer the question and a strategy for collecting the data; a statement of the research design, outlining how the data would be analyzed to generate and answer to your question; and a statement of expected results and conclusions.
to four sets of homework problems will be assigned. The answers will be provided
on the class website. Completed homework will be collected, but will not be
graded. The purpose of the homework is to provide students with an opportunity
to practice applying tools and skills and is considered a self-directed project.
Late homework will not be accepted.
Participation—Participation is essential to overall success in the course. Students who are paralyzed by fear at the thought of talking in class would be advised to overcome it. Students who do not participate in class will not receive participation points.
Academic Dishonesty—Plagiarism on papers and cheating on exams will not be tolerated. Evidence of cheating will result in a zero grade on that assignment. The official statement about academic honesty, including plagiarism, may be accessed at: http://www2.semo.edu/provost/handbook/html/Chapter5/FHV-5.htm
Special Needs—Please see me if you have a disability that requires alternative arrangements or circumstances. I’ll assist you in any manner possible.
Course Schedule (Note that assignment details and due-dates may be subject to change and that students should check for periodic updates)
Week of August 24: Introduction
Readings: JR Ch 1; S Ch 1
Week of August 31: Research Design
Readings: JR Ch 2 and Ch 3; S Appendix
September 7: Labor Day, no class
Week of September 9, 11: Hypotheses, Concepts
Readings: JR Ch4; S Ch 2
Week of September 14: The Literature
Review/The State and Public Policy
Readings: JR Ch 5; S Ch 3 and Ch 4
Week of September 21: Political Economy and
Readings: S Ch 5 and Ch 6
September 28: Review for First Exam
September 30: First Exam, In-class portion
October 2: First Exam, Take-home portion due
Week of October 5: Measurement/Authority and
Readings: JR Ch 6; S 8
Week of October 12: Gathering Data/Democracy
Readings: JR Ch 7 and Ch 8; S Ch 7
October 16: No class
Week of October 19: Gathering Data
Readings: JR Ch 10; S Ch 7
Week of October 26: Sampling/Constitutions
Readings: JR Ch 9; S Ch 9
Week of November 2: Sampling Cont./Law and Courts
Readings: S Ch17
November 9: Second Exam, In-class portion
November 11: Second Exam, Take-home portion due
November 13: Univariate Data Analysis/Linking
Readings: JR Ch 11; S Ch 10-12
Week of November 16: Univariate Cont.
Readings: See above.
November 23: Bivariate Data Analysis/National Institutions
Readings: JR Ch 12; S Ch 14-18
November 25, 27: Thanksgiving
Week of November 30: Bivariate Data Analysis
Cont./Multivariate Data Analysis
Readings: See above and JR Ch 13
December 7: Review for Third Exam
December 9: Third Exam, In-class portion
December 11: Third Exam, Take-home portion due
December 14: Papers Due and Paper Presentations