Descriptor Details

  • Introduction to Political Science Research Methods
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This course surveys the research methods employed in political science.  Research design, experimental procedures, descriptive methods, instrumentation, and the collection, interpretation, and reporting of research data, and the ethics of research are introduced.

  1. Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, any introductory level social or behavioral science course
  2. Elementary Statistics (C-ID MATH 110 or C-ID SOCI 125)

  1. History and development of the empirical study of politics.
  2. The scientific method.
  3. Theories, hypotheses, variables, and units.
  4. Conceptualization, operationalization and measurement of political concepts.
  5. Elements of research design including the logic of sampling.
  6. Qualitative and quantitative research methods and means of analysis
  7. Research ethics.


At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

  1. Explain the basic principles of the scientific method.
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between theory and research.
  3. Demonstrate knowledge of general research designs, experimental and non-experimental (observational) methods, and standard research practices.
  4. Select and defend research designs and data collection procedures appropriate to test hypotheses.
  5. Critically evaluate reports of research findings, assess the generalizability of research results, and synthesize a body of research findings.
  6. Explain the ethical treatment of participants in research and the institutional requirements for conducting research.

May include as appropriate:

In-class or take-home examinations
Research papers or projects
Written assignments
Analytical papers
Oral presentations
Participation in class discussions and debates

Any college-level introduction to research methods in political science or the social sciences textbook including, but not limited to

Babbie. The Basics of Social Research

Babbie. The Practice of Social Research

Brians, Willnat, Manheim, and Rich.  Empirical Political Analysis

Forestiere, Carolyn. 2016. Beginning Research in Political Science. 1 edition. Oxford University Press.

Franco, Josh, Charlotte Lee, Kau Vue, Dino Bozonelos, Masahiro Omae, and Steven Cauchon. 2020. Introduction to Political Science Research Methods – An Open Education Resource Textbook. eBook – Adobe PDF. 1st Edition.

Johnson and Reynolds. Political Science Research Methods

Kellstedt, Paul M., and Guy D. Whitten. 2018. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge University Press.

Monroe.  Essentials of Political Research

Salkind. Exploring Research.

Salkind. Statistics for People Who (Think They) Hate Statistics

May also include supplementary materials such as, but not limited to, primary sources, readers, workbooks, research reports, statistical software, etc.

Franco, Josh. 2021. Polimetrics: A Stata Companion to Introduction to Political Science Research Methods. EBook – Adobe PDF. 1st Edition.

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