Last updated: Nov 11, 2016
Political
Theory and Research Design (POLS625)
Fall 2016
Dr. Misa Nishikawa
Location: NQ139
Office: NQ262
Email: mnishikawa@bsu.edu
Web: mnishikawa.iweb.bsu.edu
Office
hours: TTh 8:50am9:30am, W:5:306:20pm, and by appointment
The course is
designed to introduce students to the scientific study of politics with special
emphasis given to the way in which professional political and social scientists
undertake their work. In particular, the course examines how to conduct social
science research. The greatest focus will be on the use of statistics and
computers to perform data analysis for the systematic testing of hypotheses.
Learning Outcomes
Students will be able to:
recognize the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative analyses,
design quantitative research,
conduct basic statistical analyses using statistical software,
use spreadsheet software,
analyze political phenomena at the multivariate level,
evaluate political claims critically,
and appreciate the scientific approach in studying politics.
Required Texts and Reading:
1. Philip Pollock. 2015. The Essentials of Political Analysis. 5th edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Press
2. Philip Pollock. 2015. An SPSS Companion to Political Analysis. 5th edition. Washington, D.C.: CQ Pres
3. SPSS software
Rental version (Recommended). Visit www.onthehub.com and purchase IBM® SPSS® Statistics GradPack Base for Windows or Mac (06Mo Rental). (Visit www.onthehub.com, Click on "IBM SPSS Statistics 24." Click on "Buy Now." Choose "GradPack Base". Or visit the following web and find more options: http://www03.ibm.com/software/products/en/spssstatsgradpack ) The software is also available in some of the computer labs on campus. (If you like, you can try a trial version. Google "IBM SPSS Statistics Base.") This software is necessary to open the datasets that are provided by An SPSS Companion to Political Analysis. Contact the Help Desk (2851517) or SPSS for technical issues.
4. USB flash memory, ilocker, etc.
5. Supplementary reading in the form of additional handouts and Internet resources
There
will be three online exams. You can drop one of the three exams. Makeup exams will not be given except in the
case of extreme circumstances. You must be able to provide
documentation that the absence is unavoidable (e.g., illness, death in the
family, observance of a religious holiday) and make arrangements with me prior to the scheduled exam date.
If you do not take the test by due date,
your exam score will be downgraded. Ten
points will be subtracted from your grade for each day. You are not allowed to
take the test beyond three days from the due date.
Exams
will be based on material covered in lectures or class discussions and from the
required readings.
Paper
/Assignments
Students will be expected to write a paper on
research design. Students will also need to find their own research question and
describe how they will carry out their research. The use of some basic
statistics will also be required. Students will also be given additional
assignments. Please do not send your assignments by using email. Late work
will be downgraded by 10 points each day it is late. The paper/assignments will
not be accepted beyond 3 business days from the due date.
The grade is
allocated in the following way:
Exam 1 and 2 
(30, 30) 60%

Assignments 
7% 
Discussion 
3% 
Paper assignments (Topic, Intro, Theory, Operationalization, Descriptive Stats, Final paper presentation) Final paper

(3, 3, 3, 3, 3, 3) 18%
12%

Total 
100%

Grading Scale: For all items in
this class for which grades are assigned, the following grading scale will be
used:
A 
93.0% 
A 
90.0% 
B+ 
86.0% 
B 
83.0% 
B 
80.0% 
C+ 
76.0% 
C 
73.0% 
C 
70.0% 
D+ 
66.0% 
D 
63.0% 
D 
60.0% 
F 
0  59.9 
Participation
in
class discussions is strongly encouraged. Of course, participation should be
constructive, and all comments should be relevant to the material being covered
in class. Students must do all of the readings prior to the class! Respect
should be shown for all other class members at all times.
Attendance
There will be no attendance points, but students are required to attend class regularly.
Students are
expected to have a collegial demeanor.
For the lab hours, students are expected to use only appropriate software,
which typically does not include the internet or email programs.
Students
will be responsible for knowing any changes made to the syllabus during class
time whether they were in attendance or not. The instructor’s lecture notes are
not available to students; it is the student’s responsibility to obtain class
notes from a classmate, should class be missed.
If you need course adaptations or
accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical
information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the
building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as
possible.
Academic Honesty
Honesty, trust, and personal responsibility
are fundamental attributes of the university community. Academic
dishonesty by a student will not be tolerated, for it threatens the foundation
of an institution dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. To maintain its
credibility and reputation, and to equitably assign evaluations of scholastic
and creative performance, Ball State University is committed to maintaining a
climate that upholds and values the highest standards of academic integrity.
The
Week 
Date 
Topic 

Week 1 
8/24 
The Science in Social Science Statistics: Gathering Data SPSS: Introduction Research Paper: Overview;
Research Question and Lit. Review 
Essentials: Introduction SPSS: Getting Started, Ch1
(Introduction) 
Week 2 
8/31

Stats: Frequency Ethics
Assignment 1 Due (In class/Group
assignment) Paper: Topic and Bibliography Due 
Babbie: Ch 3 (The
Ethics and Politics of Social Research)* 
Week 3 
9/7 
Measurement (Concepts SPSS: Recoding Assignment 3 Due (Frequency)
Assignment 4 In class (Recoding) 
Essentials: Ch1(pp622) SPSS: Ch3 (pp4149) 
Week 4 
9/14 
Theory and Hypotheses,
Measuring and Describing Variables
Stats: Descriptive
Stats (Frequency III, Measures of central tendency and variability) Assignment
5 In class (Prisoner’s Dilemma)
Assignment 6 Due (Levels of measurement) Assignment
7 Quiz using Blackboard

Essentials: Ch3
(pp4858), Ch6 (pp122128) SPSS: Ch2 
Week 5 
9/21 
Logic of Control, Experimental Studies Sampling Assignment
8 Due (Standard
deviation) Assignment 9 Due (SPSS, Excel: St. Dev)
Paper: Introduction Due

Essentials: Ch4 (pp7890), Ch6 (Pp122127), Ch6(pp122127) 
Week 6 
9/28 
Exam
1 

Week 7 
10/5 
Understanding what to
avoid
Statistics: Normal distribution, Crosstab

Essentials: Ch4 (Pp7890) Ch3 (Pp5861),
Ch5
(pp102108),
Ch6 (136140) SPSS: Ch4 (6163) Ch5 (pp9398) 
Week 8 
10/12 
Examples of Statistical, Experimental, and Case Studies Assignment: Read the assigned articles and be prepared to discuss the articles in class. Assignment 10 Due (Normal curve)
Assignment 11 In class (Crosstab 1) Assignment 12 In class (Crosstab 2)
Assignment 13 In class (Crosstab 3) Assignment
14 In class (Data for research paper )

Visit the course web page and find the two assigned articles under Week 8.

Week 9 
10/19 
Statistics: Hypothesis testing
(Z, t, Chisquare)
Paper: Theory/Hypothesis Due Assignment 14 Due (Data for research paper) 
Essentials: Ch6 (pp136140)
Table 63, Table 64, Ch7
(Chisquare)
SPSS: Ch6 (Onesample ttest)
Ch7 (Chisquare)

Week 10 
10/26 
Statistics: Measures of
Association
(including Corrrelation)
Assignment
15 In class (Z, t)
Assignment 16 In class (Chi Square)

Essentials: Ch7 (Measures of
Association)
SPSS: Ch7 (Measures of
Association)

Week 11 
11/2 
Statistics:
Correlation and Regression Analysis
Assignment 17 In class (Measures of Assoc)Paper: Operationalization (Methods) Due 
Essentials: Ch8 (Correlation
and Regression)
SPSS: Ch 8 (Correlation and Regression) 
Week 12 
11/9 
Assignment 19 In class (Regression) Assignment 20 In class (Preresults for research paper) Extra Credit In class 

Week 13 
11/16 
Review Exam 2 Assignment 21 In class (Preparation for presentation) Paper: Descriptive Stats Due 

Week 14 
11/23 
Thanksgiving recess 

Week 15 
11/30 
Exam 2 

Week 16 
12/7 
Paper
Due Presentation Extra Credit Due 

Week
17 
Final
Exam12/1318

Exam
3 
