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Introduction to Research Design

Level
Semester
Instructor(s)
Units
4
Section
1
Number
235
CCN
24636
Times
Wed/Thurs 2-3:30pm
Location
REMOTE
Course Description

This course introduces graduate students to study design and data collection in political science,
both large-n (“quantitative”) and small-n (“qualitative”), though with more emphasis on the
former than the latter. It will consider both general claims about particular methods and many
examples. Specific topics include (1) Positivism vs. Interpretivism, (2) Causal inference (3)
Measurement, (4) Experimental Design, (5) Quasi-Experimental Design, (6) Sampling, (7)
Survey Research, (8) In-Depth Interviewing, (9) Field Research, (10) Aggregate Data and
Linkage Designs, (11) Content Analysis, (12) Case Studies and Case selection, and (13)
Comparative and Multi-method research design. In addition to completing a final exam, students
write four short (5-page) papers over the course of the semester designed to help them relate
course material to their own research interests and objectives: one on measurement, one on
sampling, one on research design, and one that carries out a mini-project involving surveying,
interviewing, content analysis, or dataset construction and statistical analysis. Class time is a
mix of lecture, Q&A, and discussion/presentations regarding student projects. During the Fall
2021 semester, the class will meet twice per week (virtually)—for two hours on Wednesday and
one hour on Friday. The reading load is heavy but guided, with brief summaries provided to help
students pick and choose what to read carefully vs. just skim. Students should emerge better
equipped to undertake their own research and better able to evaluate the work of others.