Government 10 Course


Constantine J. Spiliotes		            Dartmouth College

Government 10		                           MWF 11:15-12:20 pm
Spring 1997		                     X-Hour: T 12:00-12:50 pm

Office Hours: M 2-4 pm (or by appt.)	                   Silsby 209
		                                        Phone: 6-2555


QUANTITATIVE POLITICAL ANALYSIS

This course will provide students with useful tools for undertaking empirical research in political science and will help them to become informed consumers of quantitative political analysis. The course will first consider the general theoretical concepts underlying empirical research, including: the nature of causality, the structure and content of theories, and the formulation and testing of competing hypotheses. The course will then employ these concepts to develop several quantitative approaches to political analysis. Students will be introduced to two statistical methods frequently used by political scientists: contingency tables and linear regression. By learning to systematically analyze political data, students will gain the ability to better conduct and evaluate empirical research, in both its quantitative and qualitative forms.

Course Requirements: Students will be required to complete five equally weighted assignments (20% of grade each). These assignments will require students to apply the quantitative techniques presented in the course to actual issues of political analysis. Assignment five will be distributed on the last day of class and will be due during the finals period (exact date still to be determined). See the course schedule below for the other four assignment due dates.

Computer Lab Work: The course will make extensive use of the statistical software package SPSS 6.1 for the PowerMac. The required Norusis text, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, will be an invaluable tool for using this extremely user-friendly statistical software. All quantitative data analysis for the course should be conducted in the basement computer instructional center of Kiewit. The center has 16 PowerMacs, each of which will have SPSS 6.1 and a Gov 10 (formerly Gov 29) data set folder loaded onto it. Alternatively, you can download SPSS 6.1 from Public (licensed software, key server controlled, limited support, SPSS 6.1 Native - all files except Adv Stats and Prostats Users). You would then need to get a copy of the data from me or from one of the Kiewit machines. I will be giving students an introductory tour of SPSS in Kiewit on April 18th, 21st, and 22nd (one-third of the class on each day). Also, I have the identical software and data sets loaded onto my office machine, so feel free to bring any questions to me. Finally, I have reserved Sundays from 3:00-6:00 pm as priority computer center time for Gov 10 students. There should be a schedule posted outside the instructional center. If you run into problems getting other students to relinquish the PowerMacs, during these scheduled priority times, please let me know immediately.

Required Texts: The following books are available for purchase at the Dartmouth Bookstore:

Cole, Richard. Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research.
Durkheim, Emile. Suicide.
King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba. Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research.
Norusis, Marija. SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis.
Tufte, Edward. Data Analysis for Politics and Policy.

In addition, during the last several classes of the course, we will be reading and discussing examples of actual quantitative research in political science, selected from leading professional journals. Multiple copies of these articles will be placed on reserve at Baker Library. It is essential that you read them, in preparation for successfully completing the last assignment of the course.


COURSE SCHEDULE

I. INTRODUCTION: WHY STUDY QUANTITATIVE POLITICAL ANALYSIS?

March 26
Course Overview.

II. SOCIAL SCIENCE METHODS FOR UNDERSTANDING POLITICAL PHENOMENA

II.A. Issues of Inference and Causality

March 28
King, Keohane, and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, chapter 1.
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 1.

March 31
Durkheim, Suicide, Book Two, chapters 2, 4, 5.

April 2
Durkheim, Suicide, Book One, chapters 1, 2.

April 4
Durkheim, Suicide, Book Three, chapter 1.
King, Keohane, and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, chapter 2.

April 7
King, Keohane, and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, chapter 3.
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 3.

II.B. Issues of Research Design

April 9
Tufte, Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, chapter 1.
King, Keohane, and Verba, Designing Social Inquiry, chapter 4.

April 11 No Class

April 14
Tufte, Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, chapter 2 (pp. 31-54 only).
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 4.

III. THE NEXUS BETWEEN STATISTICAL METHODS AND POLITICAL ANALYSIS

III.A. Basic Statistical Tools

April 16
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 6.
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapters 1, 3, 4, 5 (Note: You are not required to do the exercises at the end of each Norusis chapter, but all of the requisite data sets will be in the Gov 10 (formerly Gov 29) folder on the Kiewit PowerMacs, so I encourage you to use these exercises as a road map for mucking around in the software and data on a regular basis. It will make the actual required assignments that much easier. Trial and error is the best way to master statistical software.).

April 18
SPSS 6.1 introductory tour for one-third of the class (I will assign you one of three days in advance). We will meet in the basement of Kiewit for this class period. Be sure that you have looked over the assigned April 16 Norusis chapters, as they will facilitate your following along with my demonstration. Also, bring a spare floppy disk, so that you can save your own data output.

April 21
SPSS 6.1 introductory tour for one-third of the class. See April 18 for details.

April 22
X-hour SPSS 6.1 introductory tour for one-third of the class. See April 18 for details.

III.B. Basic Statistical Theory and Techniques

III.B.1. Testing Hypotheses for Statistical Significance

April 23
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 10.
Assignment One due in class.

April 25
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 7.
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 11.

April 28
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 12.

III.B.2. Contingency Table Analysis

April 30
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 8.

May 2
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 8.
Campbell, Angus, Philip E. Converse, Warren Miller, and Donald E. Stokes, The American Voter, chapter 5 (ON RESERVE).

IV. INTRODUCTION TO LINEAR REGRESSION ANALYSIS

IV.A. Issues of Prediction

May 5
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 19.

IV.B. The Bivariate Regression Model

May 7
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 9.
Assignment Two due in class.

May 9
Tufte, Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, chapter 3 (pp.65-107 only).
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 20.

May 12
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 21.

May 14
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 22.
Assignment Three due in class.

May 16
No Class - Green Key Weekend.

IV.C. The Multivariate Regression Model

May 19
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 10.

May 21
Tufte, Data Analysis for Politics and Policy, chapter 4.
Cole, Introduction to Political Science and Policy Research, chapter 11.

V. QUANTITATIVE POLITICAL ANALYSIS IN PRACTICE

May 23
Norusis, SPSS 6.1 Guide to Data Analysis, chapter 23.
Jackman, Robert W., "The Predictability of Coups dčetat: A Model with African Data," American Political Science Review, Vol. 72, No. 4 (Dec. 1978), pp. 1262-1275. (ON RESERVE).

May 26
Jackman, Robert W., "Political Institutions and Voter Turnout in the Industrial Democracies," American Political Science Review, Vol. 81, No. 2 (June 1987), pp. 405-423. (ON RESERVE).
Remmer, Karen L., "The Political Impact of Economic Crisis in Latin America in the 1980s," American Political Science Review, Vol 85, No. 3 (Sept. 1991), pp. 777-800. (ON RESERVE).
Assignment Four due in class.
Assignment Five distributed in class.

Teaching Statistics in the Social Sciences (X10) HOME