Political Science Research Methods

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  • Edition: 6th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-12-20
  • Publisher: Cq Pr
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Don't let an introduction to research methods be your students' least favorite (and most intimidating) political science course. Relevant, timely, insightful, comprehensive, and always mindful of their student audience, the authors have revamped their popular text so that the sixth edition is friendlier and more intuitive than ever-the perfect gateway to understanding not just the how but also the why behind research into politics. Covering the discipline's major methods, the authors lead students step-by-step through the logic of research design. Building block chapters on hypothesis formation and testing, variables, and measurement are right up front; the introduction to research design, sampling, and literature reviews now come with more explanation as to why a researcher would pursue different kinds of methods; the stats chapters begin with a common-sense primer that walks students through foundational ideas and practices. Throughout the text, updated examples of contemporary research problems keep readers engaged. Each chapter has bolded key terms that are also listed in a glossary at the end of each chapter and the end of the text. Helpful hints feature boxes give students nuts-and-bolts reminders they can refer to when they conduct their own research or assess the work of others. NEW TO THIS EDITION New examples of political science research in Chapter 1, including a case on judicial decision making and current research into public opinion on the war in Iraq. Expanded discussion of theory in Chapter 2, showing how competing paradigms can be applied to the same topic of study. Substantially updated discussion of survey research including coverage of Internet polling and a fuller description of interviewing. Computational formulas and calculations are now featured in How It's Done boxes allowing students to separate lengthy calculations from substantive discussion of the meaning or interpretation of statistical results. Greater coverage of newer developments in applied statistics, including exploratory data analysis and descriptive and inferential statistics for counts and functions of counts. In general, less emphasis on computation, and more on interpretation. Reorganized statistics chapters for better comprehension with regression analysis and logistic regression in their own chapters. A new overview of statistical analysis, including discussion of data preparation, description, modeling, inference, interpretation, and the communication of results.

Table of Contents

Research on Winners and Losers in Politics
Who Votes, Who Doesn't?
Repression of Human Rights
a Look into Judicial Decision Making and Its Effects Influencing Bureaucracies
Effects of Campaign Advertising on Voters
Research on Public Support for U.S. Foreign Involvement
Terms Introduced
Studying Politics Scientifically
Characteristics of Scientific Knowledge
The Importance of Theory
Acquiring Empirical Knowledge: The Scientific Method
Deduction and Induction
The Scientific Method at Work
Is Political Science Really "Science"?
Practical Objections
Philosophical Objections
a Brief History of Political Science as a Discipline
The Era of Traditional Political Science
The Empirical Revolution
Reaction to Empiricism
Political Science Today: Peaceful Coexistence?
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
The Building Blocks of Social Scientific Research: Hypotheses, Concepts, and Variables
Specifying the Research Question
Proposing Explanations
Formulating Hypotheses
Characteristics of Good Hypotheses
Specifying Units of Analysis
Cross-level Analysis: Ecological Inference and Ecological Fallacy
Defining Concepts
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
The Building Blocks of Social Scientific Research: Measurement
Devising Measurement Strategies
Examples of Political Measurements: Getting to Operationalization
The Accuracy of Measurements
Problems with Reliability and Validity in Political Science Measurement
The Precision of Measurements
Levels of Measurement
Working with Precision: Too Little or Too Much
Multi-item Measures
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Research Design
Causal Inferences and Controlled Experiments
Causal versus Spurious Relationships
Randomized Controlled Experiments
Randomization and the Assignment of Subjects
Interpreting and Generalizing the Results of an Experiment
Internal Validity
External Validity
Other Versions of Experimental Designs
Simple Post-test Design
Repeated-Measurement Design
Multigroup Design
Field Experiments
Nonexperimental Designs
Small-N Designs
Cross-Sectional Designs: Surveys and Aggregate Data Analysis
Large Longitudinal (Time Series) Designs
Panel Studies
Alternative Research Strategies
Formal Modeling
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Conducting a Literature Review Selecting a Research Topic
Why Conduct a Literature Review?
Collecting Sources for a Literature Review
Identifying the Relevant Scholarly Literature
Identifying Useful Popular Sources
Reading the Literature
Writing a Literature Review
Anatomy of a Literature Review
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
The Basics of Sampling
Population or Sample?
Fundamental Concepts
Types of Samples
Simple Random Samples
Systematic Samples
Stratified Samples
Cluster Samples
Nonprobability Samples
Samples and Statistical Inference: a Gentle Introduction
Expected Values
Measuring the Variability of the Estimates: Standard Errors
Sampling Distributions
How Large a Sample?
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Making Empirical Observations: Direct and Indirect Observation
Types of Data and Collection Techniques
Qualitative versus Quantitative Uses of Data
Choosing among Data Collection Methods
Direct Observation
Indirect Observation
Physical Trace Measures
Validity Problems with Indirect Observation
Ethical Issues in Observation
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Document Analysis: Using the Written Record
Types of Written Records
The Episodic Record
The Running Record
The Running Record and Episodic Record Compared
Presidential Job Approval
Content Analysis
Content Analysis Procedures
News Coverage of Presidential Campaigns
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Written Record
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Survey Research and Interviewing
Fundamentals: Ensuring Validity and Reliability
Survey Research
Types of Surveys
Characteristics of Surveys
Response Quality
Survey Type and Response Quality
Question Wording
Question Type
Question Order
Questionnaire Design
Using Archived Survey Data
Advantages of Using Archived Surveys
Publicly Available Archives
The Ins and Outs of Interviewing
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Statistics: First Steps
The Data Matrix
Data Description and Exploration
Frequency Distributions, Proportions, and Percentages
Descriptive Statistics
Measures of Central Tendency
Measures of Variability or Dispersion
Deviations from Central Tendency
Graphs for Presentation and Exploration
Presentation Graphs: Bar Charts and Pie Diagrams
Exploratory Graphs
Statistical Inference
Two Kinds of Inference
Hypothesis Testing
Significance Tests of a Mean
Confidence Intervals and Confidence Levels: Reporting Estimates of Population Parameters
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Investigating Relationships between Two Variables
The Basics of Identifying and Measuring Relationships
Types of Relationships
The Strength of Relationships
Numerical Summaries: Measures of Association
Cross-tabulations of Nominal and Ordinal Variables
a First Look at the Strength of a Relationship
The Direction of a Relationship
Coefficients for Ordinal Variables
a Coefficient for Nominal Data
Association in 2 x 2 Tables: The Odds Ratio
Testing a Cross-tabulation for Statistical Significance
Analysis of Variance and the Difference of Means
Difference of Means or Effect Size
Difference of Proportions
Analysis of Variance
Regression Analysis
Matrix Plots
Modeling Linear Relationships
The Regression Model
Interpretation of Parameters
Measuring the Fit of a Regression Line
The Correlation Coefficient
Standardized Regression Coefficients
Inference for Regression Parameters
Regression Is Sensitive to Large Values
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
Multivariate Analysis
Multivariate Analysis of Categorical Data
Multiple Regression
Interpretation of Parameters
Dummy Variables
Estimation and Calculation of a Regression Equation
Standardized Regression Coefficients
Measuring the Goodness of Fit
Tests of Significance
Logistic Regression
Estimating the Model's Coefficients
Measures of Fit
Significance Tests
An Alternative Interpretation of Logistic Regression Coefficients
a Substantive Example
Terms Introduced
Suggested Readings
The Research Report: An Annotated Example
Bias in Newspaper Photograph Selection
Relevant Literature
Political Atmosphere Theory
Why Newspapers
Research Design
Normal Curve Tail Probabilities
Critical Values from t Distribution
Chi-Squared Distribution Values for Various Right-tail Probabilities
F Distribution
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