POLS 340:  Political Analysis

(Spring 2005)



Prof. Edward Kwon                                                      Northern Illinois University

Office: Zulauf 402                                                        Department of Political Science

Phone: 753-7055                                                           Class: T & TH  9:30-11:15 am

E-mail: edteaching@yahoo.com                                   Class Room: DU 170 Lab              

Office Hours: TH 11:00-11:50 am                                                      Graham 435

                       & by appointment 




Course Objective


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.


      The course 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 Iraq, the North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, and others interesting issues will be analyzed through various research tools.  


      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: Feb 2, 2006, 10 %)  

(2) Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis of Voting Patterns in the U.S.

(3) Library Research and Bibliographic Work

(4) Research Proposal

(5) Questionnaire Building, Survey, and Coding: Group Project

(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.

Texts and Statistical Package:


Required Books


Jarol B. Manheim, and Richard C. Rich, Empirical Political Analysis: Research Methods

             in Political Science, 6th ed. (New York: Longman, 2006).


Philip H. Pollock III, An SPSS Companion to Political Science (Washington, D.C.: CQ

             Press, 2003).

* This package is installed in the DuSable Hall 170 computer lab.


Optional Books


Chava Frankfort-Nachmias and Anna Leon-Guerrero, Social Statistics for A Diverse

              Society (Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press, 2000).


Earl Babbie, The Practice of Social Research, 10th ed. (Belmont, California: Wadsworth,



Peter M. Nardi, Doing Survey Research: A Guide to Quantitative Method (Boston:

               Allyn and Bacon, 2003)


Gary King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba, Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific

             Inference in Qualitative Research (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press,





Course Fee

The required course fee ($35) allows us to access the Computer Lab in DuSable 170. We will use the lab for library search, survey analysis, and quantitative research techniques such as the SPSS. The lab is open Monday through Friday. The Spring 2006 lab schedule will be informed. 



Students with Disabilities

“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 Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructor. It is important that CAAR and instructor be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.” 



Class Schedule and Topic Outline



I.  The Research Process and Theory Building  


Week 1 (Jan 17, 19): The Research Process


Course Introduction


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 (Thousand Oaks, California: Pine Forge Press, 2000), pp.1-11.



O Assignment 1: Essential Statistical Concepts and Formulas

   Due: Feb. 2



Week 2 (Jan 24, 26) Theory Building

Concept and Hypotheses in Political Science

- The Nature of Social Science Theory

- The Logic of Theory Building

- Components of Science Theory

- The Role of Hypotheses

- Formulating Hypotheses


Collecting Data

- 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

Microsoft Excel

- Starting Excel

- Basic Skills

- Formula

- 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


O Assignment 2: Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis of Voting Patterns in the U.S.  

    Due: Feb. 9



II.  Bibliographic and Library Search/ Research Design  


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 Readings

- 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. (Belmont, California:

     Wadsworth, 2001). Chap. 4.

** 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



III.  Survey Research and Interviewing / Content Analysis


Week 6 (Feb 21, 23): Sampling/ Scaling Techniques/ Coding


- Representative Sample

- Random Sampling


Scaling Techniques

- 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.


O Assignment 4: Questionnaire Building, Surveying, and Coding (Group Project)   

     Due: Mar 28


1. North Korea Nuclear Weapons Program Project

 - 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 Iraq

 - Others (Affirmative action, Same Sex Marriage, Gun Controls, etc.)


** Directions 

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

Questionnaire Construction

- Content and Format

- Wording Your Question


Thursday (Mar 9): Content Analysis

- Quantification in Content Analysis

- Undertaking a Substantive/ Structural Content Analysis

- Finding Categories

- Sampling

- 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



IV.  Quantitative Analysis and SPSS Skill     


Week 10 (Mar 28, 30): SPSS Basic Skill     

SPSS Basic

- 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

- Histograms

- 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 


Week 15 (May 2, 4): Group Project and Presentation and Final-term Examination     



Week 16 (May 9): Final Examination





































Appendix I.


Hand Written Summary Note Guideline

- 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

10. Chi Square test 

11. T test

12. R square

13. Z score


** Example



** Variance

- 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 …………………………..



Ex) Variability in Distributions of daily Income Having the Same Mean




































 Variance Fomula


                Σ (X- X)²                  

   s² =  __________               




   s² =    ______        =  16



   S² = variance

   Σ (X- X)² = sum of the squared deviations from the meann =  total number of score    

Appendix II


Assignment Schedule






Hand Written Summary Note

- Essential Statistical Concept and Formulas


Feb 2


Spreadsheet and Graph Analysis

Feb 9


Research Proposal

Feb 23


Group Project – Survey Data

Mar 28


Data Analysis I: Uni and Bivaariate

April 20


Group Research Paper

April 27


Data Analysis II: ANOVA and Regression

May 2








Thank You!