POLS 689


Course Description

Analysis of political institutions of the world.





No exams! Let's focus on reading and writing.


Assignment 1: Writing a research proposal

One page




Preparation for Discussion:

Students will be asked to summarize one or two chapters during the class period. (I expect everyone to talk about the assigned chapters for 5 to 10 minutes.) We will then discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the book. Please think about how you will criticize the author's arguments.


Grading Rubrics for Discussion for Each Week:

Attendance- 10%

Summary and comprehension- 40%

Active participation- 10%

Discussion of the strengths and weaknesses- 20%

Criticizing the arguments of the book effectively - 20%


Your grade will be reported to Blackboard each week.


Grading Rubrics for Final Paper and Paper Assignments


*Submit the assignments to the discussion and content areas one day before they are due.

*Bring a hard copy of the final paper to the Department. Also Submit it to the Blackboad by going to the content area.



Thorough literature review (Do not just report all the studies. Make sure that the lit review is showing that your study will improve our knowledge.)

The literature review shows the originality of your study effectively.

The purpose of your study is clearly stated.

Research question is clear.

Your argument      

Empirical puzzle

*Students tend to write the background of their topic too much.

*The use of sources

*Is the paper interesting?

*Quality of writing  





*The use of sources

*Quality of writing



        How the cases are chosen

        Whether or not the procedure of case selection is defended well.

        If you are following a particular research design.

                For a qualitative study: The most similar systems design or most different systems design (Przeworski and Teune 1970)

                        Example: Skocpol

                For a quantitative study: See the web pages for POLS625

*The use of sources

*Quality of writing


Results/Case studies

        If the results support your theory and hypotheses.

        For a quantitative study: See the web pages for POLS625

*The use of sources

*Quality of writing


Does the paper solve an interesting puzzle?

Is the paper convincing?


Prep Power Point File


Quantitative Paper (Title, Intro, Lit Review, Theory and Hypotheses, Methods, Descriptive Stats, Pre-results if possitlbe)

Qualitative Paper (Title, Intro, Lit Review, Theory, Methods, Case study)

*No oral presentation yet. We will be discussing based on your file. We will be spending 15 minutes per file.



Power point file:

Quantitative Paper (Intro, Lit Review, Theory and Hypotheses, Methods, Descriptive Stats, Results, Conclusion, etc)

Qualitative Paper (Intro, Lit Review, Theory, Methods, Case study, Conclusion, etc)



Oral presentation-15 minutes

Question and answer-10 minutes

*Please do not read when you present.


Citing References

               Please follow the APSR format by referring to the most recent issue of the APSR. You may also consult the Chicago Manual of Style.

               Click the following to find The American Political Science Review or visit JSTOR



How to Avoid Plagialism


               *Any papers or assignments with plagiarism will receive the grade of 0.

Required Books

Books will be selected from the following:

* Arend Lijphart. 1999. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in Thirty-Six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press

Carles Boix 1998. Political Parties, Growth and Equality. Cambridge University Press

*Rain Taagepera 2007. Predicting Party Sizes. Oxford University Press

*Elinor Ostrom. 1990. Governing the Commons. Cambridge University Press

* Gary Cox. 1997. Making Votes Count. Cambridge University Press

John Aldrich. 1995. Why Parties. University of Chicago

Anthony Downs. An Economic Theory of Political Action in Democracy

Rein Taagepera and Matthew Shugart. 1989. Seats and Votes. Yale University Press