POLS 625

Exam 1 Review Sheet

Last Updated: September 21, 2014


This review is intended to give you a general idea of what may appear on the exam.  The exam will cover material from the assigned readings and material that was presented in the lecture. 



A brief overview of the overall research process in political science

Specifying research questions

Literature review


            Two windows (Data view, variable view)


            Data entry

            Variable labels and value labels



Week 2

Quantitative and qualitative studies

Theory and data

Improving research questions

1. A research project should pose a question that is “important” in the real world

2. A research project should make a specific contribution to an identifiable scholarly literature


Babbie Ch3

Ethical Issues in Social Research

Informed consent, confidentiality, anonymity, etc


Stats: Frequency

            Manual calculation



Week 3

Validity and reliability

Units of analysis

            Individual data, aggregate data

            Ecological fallacy (Handout)




Measurement error

            Systematic and random




Week 4

Levels of measurement

            Nominal, Ordinal, Interval

Deductive and inductive

Theory and hypotheses


            Dependent, independent, intervening, antecedent

Duverger’s law: SMD with a plurality rule favors a two-party system. (Mechanical and psychological effects)

Democratic peace: Democracies do not go to war with one another. (Economic interdependence, democratic value, citizens' control)

The median voter theorem

Prisoner’s dilemma

            Rational choice, dominant strategy, equilibrium, collective action problem

Criteria for causality

            Correlation, time order, nonspurious

Characteristics of good hypotheses


Descriptive stats

            Frequency, Bar chart

Central tendency

                        Mean, median, mode (manual calculation)


                        Range, variance, standard deviation (manual calculation)

            Positive and negative skew


            Frequency, central tendency, dispersion


            Standard deviation


Week 5

Isolating the impact of main independent variable

Experimental studies

                        Experimental and control groups

                        Premasurement and post-measurement

                        Random assignment

Laboratory and field experiments

Internal validity and external validity

Observational Studies

Natural experiments and controlled comparison


            Random sampling, haphazard sampling (non-random sampling)

            Sample size            

Confidence level, Accuracy (margin of error), Variability

            Sample 1- Male 50%, Female 50% --> High variation

                                    Sample 2- Male 100%, Female 0% --> Low variation

                                                High variation requires a larger sample.


The formula for standard deviation will be provided.