Political Science 340 Instructor Peter Koelling

Introduction to Political Analysis email: pmkoelling@ameritech.net

Fall 2004 Office Phone (815) 753-1022

Home Phone (847) 639-7884

Office: Zulauf 411

Hours: M 1:30 -3:00; T Th 2:00-4:00



This course focuses on a variety of issues that political scientists consider when planning and executing a research project. The goals of the course are to introduce major research strategies, data collection methods, and statistical tools used in the political science literature and to lay out the philosophical underpinnings of the social science research process.



Babbie, The Practice of Social Research (10th ed.), Thompson-Wadsworth, 2004.


Corbett and LeRoy, Research Methods in Political Science (5th ed.), Thompson-

Wadsworth, 2003 (new books only to ensure availability of required software).


Reading assignments are expected to be read by the Tuesday in the week they are assigned.




Class Participation (10%). Attendance is required and students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss weekly assigned readings and computer exercises. Students are allowed two unexcused absences. After that, your grade for participation will be reduced by one point for each unexcused absence. Excused absences are defined below under the topic of makeup exams.


Test (10% each) and Final Exam (25%). Two short tests and a comprehensive final exam will be given.


Makeup exams and grades of incomplete will be provided when needed, but only for reasons of significant illness, personal tragedy, participation in an official university sponsored intercollegiate event, or other similarly extraordinary circumstances. Documentary evidence of the extraordinary circumstance must be provided by the student.


Computer Exercises (25%). A set of 10 statistical exercises conducted using a software package called MicroCase will be assigned over the course of the semester. These exercises coincide neatly with the subject matter covered each week in class and should be completed in a timely fashion. Normally, each exercise will be due at the start of class on the Tuesday following the week in which the exercise is assigned. If a student has an excused absence the exercise will be due at the beginning of the next class period. If an exercise is not turned in during class on its due date, but is turned in by the next class , the highest grade it can achieve is 1.5%. Any exercise submitted after that can only achieve a grade of 1%.

Writing Assignment (20%).


I will give you a hand-out on this process later.

Grading System. In summary, final grades will be computed as follows:

Test I 10%

Test II 10

Final Exam 25

Computer Exercises 25

Paper 20

Class Participation 10





Part I: The Nature of Scientific Investigation and Elements of Research Design


Weeks 1 August 24 & 26


Babbie, Ch. 1


Week 2 August 31 & September 2

Babbie, Ch. 3.

http://www.grad.niu.edu/orc/irb_homepage.htm, read Investigator's Handbook and Frequently Asked Questions Regarding IRB Review at NIU


Corbett, Ch. 1. (No Assignment)

Week 3 September 7 & 9

Babbie , Ch. 2.

Corbett, Ch. 5. & Worksheet


Week 4 September 14 &16

Babbie, Ch. 5-6 .

Corbett, Ch. 2-3. Chapter 3 & Worksheet


Week 5 September 21 & 23


Babbie, Ch. 4.

Corbett, Ch. 4. & Worksheet


Week 6 September 28 TEST & 30

Babbie, Ch. 7.

Corbett, Ch. 6.& Worksheet


Week 7 October 5 & 7


Babbie, Ch. 8 (Tuesday) and Ch. 9 (Thursday).


Week 8 October12 &14

Babbie, Ch. 17.

Corbett, Ch. 7. & Worksheet


Week 9 October 19 & 21


Babbie, Ch. 14, pp. 400-410.

Corbett, Ch. 8. & Worksheet


Week 10 October 26 TEST & 28 NO CLASS


Paper Assignment


Week 11 November 2 PAPER DUE & 4


Babbie, Ch. 14, p. 410-418.

Corbett, Ch. 9. & Worksheet


Week 12 November 9 & 10


Corbett, Ch. 10. & Worksheet


Week 13 November 16 &18


Corbett, Ch. 12. & Worksheet


Week 14 November 23


Corbett, Ch. 13. & Worksheet


Week 15 November 30 & December 2


Catch-up time & Review


FINAL EXAM: Time and Date TBA