PS 240: Introduction to Political Science
Dr. Jeremy Walling
Office: Carnahan 311R
Office phone: 651-2691
Office Hours: MWF 9:30-10 and 11-11:30
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, 5th Ed.; Shively. Power and Choice, 8th ed. (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.
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; etc.).
Exams (3@ 100 pts. each) = 300
Research Design Paper = 100 pts.
Homework and Participation = 100 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.
Homework and Participation—Occasionally 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 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.
Academic Dishonesty—Plagiarism on papers and cheating on exams will not be tolerated. Evidence of cheating will result in a zero grade.
Special Needs—Please see me if you have a disability that requires alternative arrangements or circumstances. I’ll assist you in any manner possible.
Week of August 20: Introduction
Readings: JR Ch 1; S Ch 1
Week of August 27: Research Design
Readings: JR Ch 2 and Ch 3; S Appendix
September 3: Labor Day, no class
Week of September 5, 7: Hypotheses, Concepts and
Readings: JR Ch4; S Ch 2
Week of September 10: The Literature Review/The State
and Public Policy
Readings: JR Ch 5; S Ch 3 and Ch 4
Week of September 17: Political Economy and Political
Readings: S Ch 5 and Ch 6
September 24: Review for First Exam
September 26: First Exam
Week of October 1: Measurement/Authority and Legitimacy
Readings: JR Ch 6; S 7
Week of October 8: Gathering Data/Democracy
Readings: JR Ch 7 and Ch 8; S Ch 8
October 12: Fall Break, no class
Week of October 15: Gathering Data Cont./Autocracy
Readings: JR Ch 10; S Ch 9
Week of October 22: Sampling/Constitutions
Readings: JR Ch 9; S Ch 10
October 26: Last day to drop
October 29: Review for Second Exam
October 31: Second Exam
Week of November 5: Univariate Data Analysis/Linking
Readings: JR Ch 11; S Ch 11-13
Week of November 12: Bivariate Data Analysis/National
Readings: JR Ch 12; S Ch 14-16
November 19: Law and Courts
Readings: S Ch 15
November 21-23: Thanksgiving
Week of November 26: Multivariate Data Analysis/IR
Readings: JR Ch 13; S Ch 18
December 3: Review for Third Exam
December 5: Third Exam
Monday, December 10, 10 am: Papers Due and Paper Presentations