The University of Mississippi
Fall 2020 * Instructor: Dr. Gang Guo * e-mail: gg at olemiss dot edu * Office hours: by appointment
This undergraduate online lecture course is a general introduction to the basic features of the research methods used in the scientific study of politics and policy around the world. The course starts with a broad overview of the social science approach to the study of global politics and policy, noting especially the distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research and between normative and positive theories. After the brief overview, the course will specifically focus on quantitative research methods. It combines abstract discussions of the important concepts, strategies, and processes of research design with hands-on experiences of searching for, collecting, cleaning, processing, and analyzing real-world data on global politics and policy. It concludes with students completing independently a small research project from beginning to end on a topic in global politics and policy of his or her own choosing, based on what has been learned during the semester.
This course is especially suitable for students at the Croft Institute for International Studies because:
By the end of the semester, students should be able to conduct their own independent research on a topic in international governance and politics by using appropriate scientific research methods. This includes designing a research project, reviewing relevant literature, developing a theory, formulating hypotheses, collecting data, conducting analyses using basic statistical techniques such as linear and logistic regression, interpreting the outputs, presenting the findings, and critically evaluating their own research and that conducted by others.
This is an online course where most of the activities will be on Blackboard. It is essential for students to complete the required reading materials, online quizzes, and homework assignments for every week.
We will be using the SPSS statistical software.
For installation instructions, please log on to http://my.olemiss.edu, click on "Search", "Research Software", and then "SPSS".
Additional reading assignments may be added throughout the semester. Most of them are contemporary examples of social science research on important topics in global politics and policy, and they will be discussed on Blackboard.
Grades for this course are distributed as follows: online quizzes 25%; homework assignments 35%; research presentation 10%; final research paper 30%.
The weekly assignments are in the textbook at the end of each chapter. They normally contain a mixture of multiple-choice and open-ended questions. Later in the semester the assignments will include computer exercises as well. Students are required to complete the assignment every week for the corresponding chapter and turn it in by Friday. Assignments that are turned in late without a reasonable excuse or assignments that show signs of cheating will be graded zero. Students are encouraged to meet online regularly to study course materials together. However, the completed assignment every week should demonstrate independent effort, *not* teamwork. Each student will be conducting an independent research project and complete a research presentation and a final research paper. There is a rough outline on Pages 235-237 of the textbook that you may follow generally in writing your final research paper. The research presentation should be uploaded on Blackboard by Tuesday, November 17th. The final research paper should be uploaded on Blackboard by Monday, November 23rd.
|August||25th||Tuesday||Introduction & Administration|
|27th||Thursday||Overview of Research Methods||Le Roy 2009|
|September||1st||Tuesday||Important Concepts||Trochim 2006|
|3rd||Thursday||Introduction to SPSS||Chapter 1|
|8th||Tuesday||Finding Data for Analysis||UM Library|
|15th||Tuesday||Descriptive Statistics||Chapter 2; Central Tendency|
|17th||Thursday||Sampling & S.D.|
|22nd||Tuesday||Transforming Variables||Chapter 3|
|29th||Tuesday||Making Comparisons||Chapter 4; Making Comparisons|
|October||1st||Thursday||Pew Research Center survey datasets|
|6th||Tuesday||Making Controlled Comparisons||Chapter 5|
|8th||Thursday||Inglehart; Hooghe & Marks|
|13th||Tuesday||Making Inferences about Sample Means||Chapter 6|
|15th||Thursday||Independent Samples T Test|
|20th||Tuesday||Chi-square and Measures of Association||Chapter 7|
|27th||Tuesday||Correlation and Linear Regression||Chapter 8; PowerPoint file|
|29th||Thursday||Annotated SPSS Output|
|November||3rd||Tuesday||Dummy Variables and Interaction Effects||Chapter 9|
|10th||Tuesday||Logistic Regression||Chapter 10|
|12th||Thursday||Example; Annotated Output|
|17th||Tuesday||Final research presentation due||Chapter 11; PowerPoint template|
|23rd||Monday||Final research paper due|