Advanced Methods of Political Analysis

Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Political Science 328
Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Course Syllabus
Winter 2005
Lecture: MWF 10:00 - 10:50 a.m. in 280 SWKT
Computer Lab: F 12:00 noon - 12:50 a.m. or F 1:00 - 1:50 p.m. in 102 SWKT
Instructor: Jay Goodliffe
Office: 752 SWKT
Office Hours: MW 11 a.m. - 12 noon, and by appointment
Phone: 422-9136
e-mail: [email protected]
Teaching Assistant: Daniel Magleby
Office: 105 SWKT
Office Hours: W 9 - 10 a.m., R 8 - 9 p.m., and by appointment
Phone: 885-5813
e-mail: [email protected]
Home Page
Office Hours
How to Succeed in this Course
Computer Labs
Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
Schedule (1 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Home Page
The home page for Political Science 328 is
Goodliffe/328/. Check the home page often for announcements, corrections, instructions for
assignments, syllabus, etc. You should also check your email regularly.
Office Hours
I will hold office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 12 noon. I am also available at most
other times if you make arrangements with me. I encourage you to come by to talk about assignments in
the class, suggestions for improving the class, politics and current events, the perils of student life, or for
any other reason.
This course explores the fundamental concepts of research design and empirical analysis, with a heavy
emphasis on econometrics.
This course is designed to help you
Understand the concepts that form the foundation of statistics.
Become an excellent consumer of quantitative arguments (particularly statistical arguments).
Become a competent regression analyst, able to utilize statistical techniques and quantitative data
to support your own arguments.
Explain quantitative and analytical results to a regular person.
The course will be run primarily as a lecture. However, I actively encourage questions, interruptions,
cries for help, protests of disbelief, etc. You will never be penalized for participating--even when this
takes the form of vague complaints like, "I've got no clue why we are doing this stuff!" I urge--indeed, I
expect--you to take advantage of the chance to talk with me during office hours.
Prerequisites (2 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
PlSc 200 is a prerequisite for this course. PlSc 200 teaches basic statistical concepts, as well as writing
and research techniques. This course builds on those concepts and assumes you know those techniques.
Please see me if you have not had the appropriate prerequisite.
A Chinese proverb (supposedly) says, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand."
This philosophy drives the requirements of the class.
Weekly Assignments 35%
Midterm Exam
Final Exam
Research Project
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day designated in the course schedule. If you
cannot make it to class, please leave the assignment with the department secretaries (in the Political
Science office--745 SWKT) before class begins. Alternatively, you may email me the assignment. I will
not accept late assignments. The primary reason for no late assignments is so that we can discuss the
assignment in class immediately after it is turned in. If you anticipate a problem with submitting an
assignment when it is due, speak to me before the assignment is due so that we can try to work out an
alternative arrangement.
Weekly Assignments
To understand statistics, you must use statistics. To facilitate understanding, there will be weekly
assignments that may include any or all of the following:
statistical problems
analyzing data and interpreting statistical results
summary and critique of articles that use statistics
You may work together on these assignments (in groups of two or at most three), but you must write up
your answers separately. I give much more detailed instructions on how to report your work together in
the Academic Honesty section below. Generally, if you use other persons' work, or make changes to
your own work without inquiring or understanding what you did incorrectly, then you are trying to get a
grade using someone else's knowledge. Giving or receiving answers in this manner is not permitted in
this course. If you do not learn how to analyze or solve problems on your own, you will have difficulty (3 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
on the exams and research project. Generally, weekly assignments will be distributed on Fridays at the
end of class.
There is a midterm and final exam. These are both take-home exams that you will have one week to
finish. They will require you to solve problems similar to those in the weekly assignments. You are not
allowed to consult with anyone on these take-home exams (except the instructor). The final exam will
cover material for the whole semester. The final exams may be picked up in the Political Science office
(745 SWKT) after they are graded. The exams will be discarded at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
Research Project
Students will write and present a paper on a topic of their choosing. The project will allow you the
opportunity to apply the skills that we will develop in this class to actual data and problems. You may
pursue any topic of your choice, subject to instructor approval. (Of course, one requirement is that you
have the necessary data.) In your project, you will test a theory that uses a continuous dependent variable
(roughly), and at least two independent variables. There are a number of deadlines that must be met,
noted on the course schedule.
I strongly recommend that you consult with me and the teaching assistant through all phases of your
research. I may be able to help you select a feasible topic, find data, or comment on your statistical
Preliminary Analysis 15%
Turn in a (no longer than) one-page proposal outlining the research question you wish to address, and
how you plan to address it. Discuss why the research question is interesting, and possible data sources.
Turn in a (no longer than) two-page outline of your paper sketching out the argument you plan to make
and/or hypotheses you will test, and how you will do it. Include a list of sources whose work you build
on. Also list where you have obtained your data. (4 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Preliminary Analysis
Turn in a (no longer than) four-page paper that gives a more detailed outline of your paper. This should
also include a detailed description of your statistical model (including what variables you use) and some
relevant descriptive statistics for your data.
The paper's technical level should be geared toward a generic public servant--you will have to explain
what your statistical results mean. In grading the paper, I will consider how well you have used material
from the course, how well you have used statistical analysis to test your hypotheses, if the analysis is
actually correct (numerical accuracy and correct interpretation), how well you use charts and graphs,
logic and organization of the paper, and the usual grammatical and spelling concerns. The papers may be
picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. The papers will be discarded
at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
How to Succeed in this Course
The course is graded on a modified curve, using statistical principles that will be explained in the course.
I include the following information from the BYU 2004-2005 Undergraduate Catalog, which guides
how I grade and determine workload:
"The grade given in a course is the teacher's evaluation of the student's performance,
achievement, and understanding in that subject as covered in the class. The following adjectives
indicate the meaning of the letter grades:
"Hence, the grade A means that the student's performance, achievement, and understanding were
excellent in the portion of the subject covered in the class.
"There are prerequisites that qualify students to be admitted to the more advanced classes offered
by a department. A senior has added experience, understanding, and preparation and,
consequently, progresses in courses that would have been impossible when the student was a
freshman. The level of performance, achievement, and understanding required to qualify for each (5 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
grade that carries credit (any grade other than E, UW, I, IE, or WE) is higher in a more advanced
class than in those classes that precede it, and the student is prepared to work at this higher
level" (p. 50).
"The expectation for undergraduate courses is three hours of work per week per credit hour for
the average student who is appropriately prepared; much more time may be required to achieve
excellence" (p. 48).
Putting these statements together, the university expects an "average student" to work "much more" than
12 hours a week to receive an 'A' (= "excellence") in a 4 credit-hour course. This is my expectation as
This workload has been affirmed by President Bateman in his devotional addresses. On 7 September
1999, he stated, "It takes approximately three hours of study outside class for every hour in the
classroom. If you take 15 hours of credit, you should allocate upward of 45 hours for study per week."
On 19 September 2000, he advised, "Study daily--at least three hours for every hour in class."
Students who have succeeded in this course have the following characteristics. They
Read the material before coming to class.
Come to class with questions.
Study in groups to make sure they understand the material.
Spread work on the weekly assignments across the week.
Work early and often on their research projects.
Seek feedback from others.
All readings should be read before class for full understanding of the subject material.
The text for the course is:
Alan Agresti and Barbara Finlay. 1997. Statistical Methods for the Social Sciences, 3rd edition.
Prentice Hall.
There are also two recommended texts:
Larry Gonick & Woollcott Smith. 1993. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics. HarperPerennial.
John H. Kranzler. 2003. Statistics for the Terrified, 3rd edition. Prentice Hall. (6 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
These texts are available at the BYU bookstore, or any number of on-line bookstores (see AllBookStores.
com or for a listing of bookstores and comparison of prices).
Although the title may discourage the serious reader, the Gonick & Smith book is an excellent
introduction to statistics, particularly for those who find statistics dull and opaque. It also has the distinct
advantage of being correct, even in the details (which is not always the case with such books). The
Kranzler book is specifically written for the math-phobic. Another reason to use the recommended texts
is that repeated exposure to the same material increases understanding. There are also some web sites
that I can recommend which cover the material in the class.
The Agresti and Finlay text is on reserve at the Lee Library. The Gonick & Smith is also on reserve, as
well as the second (earlier) edition of Kranzler.
There may be other readings available through links I will provide or through photocopies in the
Department of Political Science office (745 SWKT).
Computer Labs
On Friday afternoon, there will be two computer labs in 102 SWKT (first lab on the left in the FHSS
Computer Center). We will learn how to do basic and advanced statistics in Stata. We may also learn
how to do statistics in a couple of other programs to increase flexibility and marketability for future
work opportunities. Each week, the lab will cover the commands necessary to do the weekly
I expect all students to have a working knowledge of the Windows operating system (i.e., what
backslashes mean, how to use a mouse, how to use pull-down menus, etc.). If you do not have such
knowledge, take some time to get familiar as soon as possible. It will not only benefit you in this class,
but other classes and jobs. Of course, if you are already familiar with spreadsheets and statistical
programs, this will also help you.
Please arrive in the Computer Lab before class starts to start up the computer and have everything ready
to go when class starts.
Academic Honesty and Plagiarism
From the Academic Honesty section of the BYU Honor Code: "The first injunction of the BYU Honor
Code is the call to `be honest.' Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain (7 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character.
`President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU
Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim.
"BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their
own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and
misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating,
and other academic misconduct." Read the full version here (parts attached to the original paper
A colleague (Mitch Sanders, formerly of Notre Dame) has already explicated these issues specifically
for social sciences. Please read here (also attached to the original paper syllabus).
If you write a paper for another course (past or present) that uses the same topic as a paper for this
course, you need to approve it with me first, and then you must turn in to me a copy of the paper from
your other course.
In this class, you need to acknowledge the contributions of others toward your assignments. I have taken
the following guidelines from MIT's Unified Engineering class. I have changed various words where
"The fundamental principle of academic integrity is that you must fairly represent the source of the
intellectual content of the work you submit for credit. In the context of [PlSc 328], this means that if you
consult other sources (such as fellow students, TAs, faculty, literature) in the process of completing
homework [(or Stata codes)], you must acknowledge the sources in any way that reflects true ownership
of the ideas and methods you used.
"Discussion among students to understand the homework problems or to prepare for [exams] is
CLEARLY AT THE END OF THE ASSIGNMENT. Word-by-word copies of someone elses solution
or parts of a solution handed in for credit will be considered cheating unless there is a reference to the
source for any part of the work which was copied verbatim. FAILURE TO CITE OTHER STUDENTS
"Study Group Guidelines
"Study groups are considered an educationally beneficial activity. However, at the end of each problem
on which you collaborated with other students you must cite the students and the interaction. The
purpose of this is to acknowledge their contribution to your work. Some examples follow: (8 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
1. You discuss concepts, approaches and methods that could be applied to a homework problem
before either of you start your written solution. This process is encouraged. You are not required
to make a written acknowledgment of this type of interaction.
2. After working on a problem independently, you compare answers with another student, which
confirms your solution. You should acknowledge that the other students solution was used to
check your own. No credit will be lost if the solutions are correct and the acknowledgments is
3. After working on a problem independently, you compare answers with another student, which
alerts you to an error in your own work. You should state at the end of the problem that you
corrected your error on the basis of checking answers with the other student. No credit will be
lost if the solution is correct and the acknowledgment is made, and no direct copying of the
correct solution is involved.
4. You and another student work through a problem together, exchanging ideas as the solution
progresses. Each of you should state at the end of the problem that you worked jointly. No credit
will be lost if the solutions are correct and the acknowledgment is made.
5. You copy all or part of a solution from a reference such as a textbook. You should cite the
reference. Partial credit will be given, since there is some educational value in reading and
understanding the solution. However, this practice is strongly discouraged, and should be used
only when you are unable to solve the problem without assistance.
6. You copy verbatim all or part of a solution from another student. This process is prohibited. You
will receive no credit for verbatim copying from another student when you have not made any
intellectual contribution to the work you are both submitting for credit.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an
educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex
discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and
student-to-student sexual harassment. BYUs policy against sexual harassment extends not only to
employees of the university but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or
gender based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 4225895 or 367-5689 (24-hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 422-2847.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which
reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may
impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility (9 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Center (422-2767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have
qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC
office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis
of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should
contact the Equal Employment Office at 422-5895, D-282 ASB.
Schedule (subject to change)
Note: AF=Agresti and Finlay; GS=Gonick & Smith; K=Kranzler.
January 5 Overview
7 Introduction
AF:1; GS:1; K:1-3
10 Measurement and Sampling
AF:2; GS:6
12 Central Tendency
AF:3.1-3.3; GS:2; K:4-5
14 Variance
No class--Martin Luther King
19 Probability Distribution
AF:4.1-4.2; GS:3-5;
21 Sampling Distribution
AF:4.3; GS:6
24 Central Limit Theorem
26 Point Estimation
28 Confidence Intervals
AF:5.2-5.6; GS:7
Project Proposal Due
31 Confidence Intervals
February 2 Hypothesis Tests
4 t Distribution
AF:6.1-6.4; GS:8; K:10
AF:6.5-6.8; K:11
7 t Distribution
9 Comparing Means
AF:7.1-7.3; GS:9
11 Comparing Means
14 Dependent Samples
16 Crosstabs
AF:8.1-8.3; K:13 (10 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Project Outline Due
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
18 Tests of Association
21 No class--Presidents' Day
NOTE! 22 Tests of Association
23 Review
25 Bivariate Regression
AF:9.1-9.3; GS:11; K:9
28 Regression Inference
AF:9.4-9.5; K:8
March 2 Regression Assumptions
Midterm Exam Distributed
4 Causality
7 Multiple Regression
9 R2
11 Inference
14 Dummy Variables
16 Comparison to ANOVA
AF:12.4-12.9; K:12
18 Interaction Terms
AF:13.1-13.3 (11.5)
Midterm Exam Due
21 Interaction Terms
23 Comparison to ANCOVA
25 Logit
28 Logit Inference
30 Logit with Dummies
April 1 Logit Interpretation
Preliminary Analysis Due
4 Diagnostics
6 Functional Forms
8 Functional Forms
11 Review
13 Review
Project Paper Due
Final Exam Distributed
Final Exam Due
Political Science 328 home page (11 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM
Syllabus for Political Science 328: Advanced Methods of Political Analysis
Jay Goodliffe's home page
This page is (12 of 12)6/6/05 4:33 PM