GOVT-453 Quantitative Methods for Political and Legal Research
Spring for 2013-2014
This course will introduce students to the quantitative research methods that political scientists use to conduct empirical research. The class will also focus on the incorporation of these approaches in the conduct of legal research and policy analysis.
The course will proceed in two phases. First, students will become familiar with the rules of descriptive and causal inference. Students will learn basic skills for developing and framing political science/legal research/public policy questions in terms of testable hypotheses, measuring political/legal phenomena, and applying basic designs for choosing observations for analysis.
Second, students will acquire a foundation in statistical analysis methods. Here, the course will emphasize the application of statistical reasoning instead of the rote memorization of formulas. Topics will include, but not be limited to, descriptive statistics and graphics, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, effect size estimation, and multivariate analysis (up to and including multivariate regression). By the end of the course, students will be able to apply fundamental methods for producing their own statistical models of causal relationships.
Depending on student interest, the course will draw research examples from political science and from topics in which political science and empirical legal studies intersect: e.g., international affairs, judicial politics, civil rights and liberties (e.g., voting rights, racial profiling), political law (e.g., campaign finance), and the psychology of legal legitimacy, among others. We will also consider the use of political science research in litigation.
Prerequisites: Enrollment is limited to graduate students in MA programs, juniors and seniors; sophomores may register with the instructor’s permission. No prior college-level coursework in statistics or mathematics is assumed.
Other academic years
There is information about this course number in other academic years: