Political Science 340 Instructor Peter Koelling

Introduction to Political Analysis email: pmkoelling@ameritech.net

Spring 2005 Office Phone (815) 753-1022

Home Phone (847) 639-7884

Office: Zulauf 411

Hours: T Th 1:30 -2:30


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 concepts, 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.


The lab fee in this course provides students full access to the SOCQRL, DU 222, a computer lab maintained and staffed by the Department of Sociology, for the purpose of completing assignments in the Microcase book.


NIU abides by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which mandates reasonable accommodations be provided for qualified students with disabilities. If you have a disability and may require some type of instructional and/or examination accommodation, please contact me early in the semester so that I can provide or facilitate in providing accommodations you may need. If you have not already done so, you will need to register with the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR), the designated office on campus to provide services and administer exams with accommodations for students with disabilities. The CAAR office is located on the 4th floor of the University Health Services building (815-753-1303).


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 unless otherwise indicated. Workbook assignments are due on the Thursday of the week assigned unless otherwise indicated.




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 (15% 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 (15%). 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 Thursday in 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%. Any exercise submitted after that can only achieve a grade of .75 %.

Writing Assignment (20%). Students will be asked to write a critical analysis of a published article based on material covered in class. The paper must be typed and between 5 and 8 pages in length, double spaced with 12 point type. I will give you a hand-out on this process later.

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

Test I 15%

Test II 15

Final Exam 25

Computer Exercises 15

Paper 20

Class Participation 10





Weeks 1 January 18 & 20

Babbie, Ch. 1 & 2


Week 2 January 25 & 27

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 February 15 & 17

Babbie, Ch. 5-6 .

Corbett, Ch. 2-3. Chapter 3 Worksheet

Week 4 February 8 &10

Babbie, Ch. 4.

Corbett, Ch. 4. & Worksheet, Ch. 5. & Worksheet


Week 5 February 15 TEST& 17

Babbie, Ch. 7.

Corbett, Ch. 6.& Worksheet


Week 6 February 22 & 24

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


Week 7 March 1 & 3

Babbie Ch. 12

Corbett, Ch. 7. & Worksheet


Week 8 March 8 &10

Babbie, Ch. 17.

Article (handout)




Week 9 March 22 & 24 TEST


Paper Assignment

Week 10 March 29 & 31 PAPER DUE

Babbie, Ch. 14

Week 11 April 5 & 7

Corbett, Ch. 8. & Worksheet (Tuesday)

Corbett, Ch. 9. & Worksheet (Thursday)


Week 12 April 12 & 14

Corbett, Ch. 10. & Worksheet


Week 13 April 19 & 21

Corbett, Ch. 12. & Worksheet


Week 14 April 26 & 28

Corbett, Ch. 13. & Worksheet


Week 15 May 3 & 5

Catch-up time & Review


FINAL EXAM: Time and Date TBA