POLS 340: Political Analysis
Prof. Edward Kwon
Office: Zulauf 402 Department of Political Science
Phone: 753-7055 Class: T & TH
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Class Room: DU 170 Lab
Office Hours: TH Graham 435
& by appointment
This course is designed to acquaint the student with basic skills and research tools for political inquiry and quantitative analysis. We will trace all steps of the research process - asking the research question, formulating the hypothesis, collecting data, analyzing data, and evaluating the hypothesis - for empirical analysis, and learn a variety of research and analytical techniques. These techniques encompass library research, bibliographic search, Internet searching skill, use of computer, data collection, survey, interview, questionnaire, content analysis, sampling, descriptive and inferential statistics, and writing and reviewing a research report.
mainly focuses on empirical political analysis. Our examples cover
international relations, comparative politics, American politics, and other
sub-fields of political science that are based on empirical evidence. In
addition, the course will explore various hot current issues in the real world.
For instance, American voting behavior,
the elections 2004 voting turnout, the emotional response to September
11 terrorist attacks, perception of the further risk of terrorist attacks,
public opinion about war against
The lecturer assumes that the student has no serious background in computer software statistical packages for social science research and basic statistics. To provide the essential methods and concepts for empirical and quantitative analysis of political phenomena to the student, this course will include the theoretical understanding of basic statistics and the practical use of data analysis software (statistical package for social research, SPSS) in DuSable 170 computer lab. Sometimes students will do field work in and off campus to collect data for these course examples. By the end of the semester, it is expected that students who have successfully completed this course will have a strong foundation of empirical research tools and quantitative techniques for further research work.
This course consists of theoretical lessons by the instructor and practical training for the student in class and the computer lab. Theoretical notes and regular lab assignments will be given before each class so that the student has the opportunity to practice research skills and quantitative political analysis. In each session, short quizzes will be required in order to check students’ understanding of the class. In addition, brief discussions about the current hot topics will encourage the student to build a critical research strategy.
1) Attendance and Class Discussion (20%)
On-time class attendance and continuous participation for class discussion are considered significant parts of getting a good grade and are essential for students to accomplishing this course objective. Students should attend each computer lab and read the theoretical notes and assignments ahead of class. Through the class discussion, students share their idea with other students and compare their own perspective with different others viewpoints attentively. Students who miss three classes cannot get credit.
2) In-class Final-term Examination (20%)
There is one in-class final-examination to test the theoretical understanding of important concepts and research skills of the course. The instructor will have a review session before the examination to help students. The questions in this exam will be a combination of short answers, essay questions, and correct answer selection.
3) Assignments (40%)
The assignments include doing library research and bibliographic work, research design and proposal, formulating a questionnaire, collecting and presenting data, and calculating statistical tests. Each assignment will be graded on a 0-10 scale (0: not turned in, 1-5: poor or delayed, 6-7: acceptable, 8-9: good, 10: excellent).
Various assignments will be given, such as;
(1) Hand-Written Summary Note of Essential Statistical Concepts and Formulas
(20 pages – Due:
(2) Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis of Voting Patterns in the
(3) Library Research and Bibliographic Work
(4) Research Proposal
(6) Essential Statistical Concepts and Formulas
(7) Statistical Analysis (Univariate, Bivariate, ANOVA, and Regression)
4) Group Project and Presentation (20%)
Each group of student will be given a group project and will present a paper based on their statistical research work in the last week’s session. The research paper should include statistical research results with an explanation. Each group should hand in all respondents’ questionnaires and a CD on which Excel format survey data is saved.
Jarol B. Manheim, and Richard C. Rich, Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods
in Political Science, 6th ed.
Philip H. Pollock
III, An SPSS Companion to Political
* This package is installed in the DuSable Hall 170 computer lab.
Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and Anna Leon-Guerrero, Social Statistics for A Diverse
Earl Babbie, The
Practice of Social Research, 10th ed. (
Peter M. Nardi, Doing
Survey Research: A Guide to Quantitative Method (
Allyn and Bacon, 2003)
Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific
in Qualitative Research (
“Under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU
is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented
disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on
their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify
the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the
Week 1 (Jan 17, 19): The Research Process
The Research Process
- The Formulation of Theory
- The Operationalization of Theories
- The Selection of Appropriate Research Techniques
- The Analysis of Data
- Interpretation of the Results
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 1.
** Nardi, Chap. 1 & 2.
Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and Anna Leon-Guerrero, Social Statistics for A Diverse Society (
O Assignment 1: Essential Statistical Concepts and Formulas
Due: Feb. 2
Week 2 (Jan 24, 26)
Concept and Hypotheses in Political Science
- The Nature of Social Science Theory
- The Logic of
- Components of Science Theory
- The Role of Hypotheses
- Formulating Hypotheses
- Level of Measurement
- Discrete and Continuous Variables
Analyzing Data and Evaluating the Hypotheses
- Descriptive and Inferential Statistics
- Evaluating the Hypotheses
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 2.
** Nardi, Chap. 2.
** Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero. pp.12-26.
Week 3 (Jan 31, Feb 2) Graph Analysis *Computer Lab Class (DuSable 170)
Spreadsheets and Graph Analysis
- Starting Excel
- Basic Skills
- Improving the Worksheet Layout
Describing the Data: Construction of Tables, Charts, and Diagrams
- The Enumerative Table
- The Line Diagram
- The Pie Diagram and the Bar Chart
- The Bilateral Bar Chart
- The Contingency Table
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 13.
** User’s Manuel of Microsoft Excel
Assignment 2: Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis of Voting Patterns in the
Due: Feb. 9
Week 4 (Feb 7, 9): Bibliographic and Library Search
- Using the Existing Literature
- Political Science journals
- Bibliographic Sources
- Interpretation of the Results
Source of Credibility
- Primary and Secondary Sources
- Books of
- Mass Media
- Internet Searching Skill
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 3.
Thursday (Feb 9) Computer Lab Class
- Finding Books on Your Research Topic
- Finding Journal Articles
- Internet Search Engine
- Search Library Catalog
O Lab Assignment: Library Research and Bibliographic Work
Due: Feb 9
Week 5 (Feb 14, 16): Research Design
- Three Purposes of Research
- Coping with Alternative Rival Hypotheses through Research Design
- Experimental Research Designs
- Field Experiments and Nonexperimental Designs
- Creating a Research Design and Proposal
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 5.
** Earl Babbie, The
Practice of Social Research, 9th ed. (
** Janet B. Johnson and Richard A. Joslyn, Political Science Research Methods, 3rd ed. (Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Inc., 1995), pp. 111-152.
O Assignment 3: Research Proposal
Due: Feb 23
Week 6 (Feb 21, 23): Sampling/ Scaling Techniques/ Coding
- Representative Sample
- Random Sampling
- Scale Construction
- Various Scaling Methods
- Codebook and the Coding Sheet
- Data Entry and Data Processing
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 6. 8. & 12.
** Nardi, Chap. 5.
** Babbie, Chap 7. 13. & 14.
Tuesday (Feb 23): Group Project Discussion
Week 7 (Feb 28, Mar 2): Survey Research
- Survey Design
- Stages of the Survey Process
- Planning and Sampling
- Monitoring and Surveying
- Sample Survey Interviewing
- Question Wording
- Selecting Interviewers and Elite Interviewing
- Specialized Interviewing
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 7.
** Nardi, Chap. 4.
Due: Mar 28
- Each group must collect more than 100 samples
- Record the survey result into the Excel Coding Sheet
2. Choose one of the following topics or any topics based on your interests
- Emotional Response to the September 11th terrorist attacks
- Perception of the further risk of terrorist attack
- War in
- Others (Affirmative action, Same Sex Marriage, Gun Controls, etc.)
1) Please arrange to meet with the instructor to discuss your survey questionnaire.
2) Collect more than 100 samples at least
3) Prepare for a Codebook, Coding Sheet
4) Record your survey results in your MS Excel Coding table
5) Save your results in a CDRW
6) Submit your CDRW, all respondents’ questionnaires
à Your data set will be used by your classmates for our statistical analyses.
Week 8 (Mar 7, 9) Computer Lab Class
- Content and Format
- Wording Your Question
Thursday (Mar 9): Content Analysis
- Quantification in Content Analysis
- Undertaking a Substantive/ Structural Content Analysis
- Finding Categories
- Liability and Limitations
Writing and Reviewing a Research Report
- The Plan and the Structure
- The Style
- The Title and Abstract
- A Checklist for Judging Research
** Manheim and Rich. Chap. 10 & 21.
* SPRING BREAK: Mar. 11-19
Week 9 (Mar 21, 23) Computer Lab Class
Microsoft Access (Database)
- Creating a Database
- New table and Relationship
- Quiry and Report
O Lab Assignment: Database Construction of Your Bibliography and Political Science Journal list
** User’s Manuel of Microsoft Access
** From next class, we will meet at DuSable 170 Computer Lab
- Beginning SPSS
- SPSS Data Table
- Data Coding and Collection
- Formula Editor
- The Keypad Functions
- Creating a New Data Table
- Working with Graphs and Reports
Week 11 (April 4, 6): Univariate Analysis
One Variable, One Sample
- Distributions: Probability and Real-World Sample Distribution
- Describing Distribution of Values
- Generating Random Data
- Statistical Inference on the Mean
Measure of Central Tendency
- The Mode, Mean, and Median
- The Median
- The Shape of Distribution
- The Characteristics of the Normal Distribution
Measure of Variability
- The Variation
- The Range
- The Standard Deviation
** Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero. pp.109-182.
** Nardi, Chap. 6.
Week 12 (April 11, 13): Bivariate Analysis
Bivariate Analysis (The Difference between Two Means)
- Chi-square Test (Cross-tabulation Analysis)
- Student’s T-test
- Two Independent Groups
- Matched Pair Groups
- Display and Compare the Means
** Nardi, Chap. 7.
** Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero. pp.201-240.
O Assignment 5: Data Analysis I: Univariate & Bivariate Analyses
Due: April 20
Week 13 (April 18, 20): Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
- What is One-way Layout?
- One-way Analysis of Variance
- Two-way Analysis of Variance
- Multiple-way Analysis of Variance
- Power and Unequal Variance
** Nardi, Chap. 8.
O Assignment 6: Group Research Paper
Due: April 27
Week 14 (April 25, 27): Regression Analysis
- Simple Correlation
- Partial Correlation and Multiple Correlation
Simple and Multiple Regression
- Least Squares
- Fitting a Line and Testing the Slope
- Examine Residuals
- Simple Regression Model
- Multiple Regression Model
** Frankfort-Nachmias and Leon-Guerrero. pp.297-327.
O Assignment 7: Data Analysis II: ANOVA and Regression
Due: May 2
- Essential Statistical Concept and Formulas
- More than 20 pages
- Definition, Formula, Example, etc
** List of Statistical
1. Measures of Central Tendency (the Mode, Median, and Mean)
2. Measures of Variability (the Range, Frequency, Variance, and Standard Deviation)
3. Normal Curve
4. Sampling Error, Standard Error of the Mean
5. Confidence Intervals, Degree of Freedom
6. The Null and Alternative Hypothesis, Hypothesis Test (Type I and II Errors)
7. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
8. Correlation and Regression
9. Independent and Dependent Variables
11. T test
12. R square
13. Z score
- Variance is a measure of the spread of a series of scores
- The larger the variance the more the data items are spread about the mean
- A variance of zero indicates no spread at all; in other words, all the scores have the
same value …………………………..
S² = variance
Σ (X- X)² = sum of the squared deviations from the meann = total number of score
Hand Written Summary Note
- Essential Statistical Concept and Formulas
Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis
Group Project – Survey Data
Data Analysis I: Uni and Bivaariate
Group Research Paper
Data Analysis II: ANOVA and Regression