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Research Methods in Political Science (

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Research is an important component of political science; it enables us to uncover evidence, develop theories, and better understand how the political world operates. This course will introduce you to some of the basic research tools in the political scientist’s “toolkit,” and discuss why and how certain tools are used to explore certain phenomena.

The course will also teach you to develop and evaluate sensible and systematic scientific research designs by addressing the ways in which data and theory intersect and examining how political scientists quantify, measure, and operationalize the concepts and variables that are key to understanding the political world. You will conclude your studies by learning about the practical implementation of research design. By the end of this course, you will better understand the qualitative and quantitative techniques that are used within the field and will be able to explain why political scientists choose to use them. In this regard, you will have the opportunity to use data and statistical analysis to gain an appreciation for the methodological choices that researchers in the field make as they conduct research.

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to

- describe the relationship between the scientific method and political science;

- formulate research questions, theories, and hypotheses;

- describe the basics of the standard research approaches in political science;

- evaluate the soundness of a research design;

- perform basic statistical analyses; and

- execute basic research in the political science discipline.

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