There are two versions of this file: an html and a pdf.

### Introduction to Political Science Research

This course provides an introduction to political science research methods. We examine concepts, computation, and applications alongside one another.

### Course Website

I post all the materials for this course to pos3713.github.io. I recommend bookmarking this page.

### Office Hours

Monday and Wednesday, 10am-12pm, Bellamy 540.

Office hours are first-come, first-serve, but I do allow you to sign up in advance to reduce wasted time. You can sign up for one (or more) 15 minute slots here. Also, feel free to come in groups of 2 or 3 if you all have similar questions.

### Important Dates

Date Day Assignment Notes
February 6 Wednesday Exam 1 Complete in usual class space and time.
February 22 Friday Computing Assignment 1 Due by 5pm.
March 13 Wednesday Exam 2 Complete in usual class space and time.
April 5 Friday Computing Assignment 2 Due by 5pm.
May 2 Thursday Final Exam Complete from 8-10pm in usual class space.

### Outcomes

In taking this course seriously, you will:

• Acquire and/or further develop knowledge of…
• basic statistical tools, such as the histograms, average, standard deviation, normal approximation, scatterplot, correlation, simple and multiple regression, sample survey, and hypothesis tests.
• basic concepts in probability theory, such as conditional probability, the law of averages, the expected value, and the standard error.
• Acquire and/or further develop the ability to…
• evaluate empirical arguments.
• use R to implement basic statistical tools.
• clearly explain data and analysis in an honest and compelling manner.

### Textbooks and Software

You need to obtain the following items for this class:

• Freedman, David, Robert Pisani, and Roger Purves. 2007. Statistics. 4th Edition. W. W. Norton and Company. New York. ISBN: 0393929728.
• It is important to get the 4th Edition, and I recommend a hard copy rather than an eTexbook.
• This book is expensive, but in past semesters, students have found good copies online for around $20. • You should have the textbook by January 23. • A pocket calculator. I bought mine at Walmart for about$3. Here’s one on Amazon. I do not allow graphing calculators on the exams, so if you have any questions, please ask. You should have your calculator by January 23.
• R and R Studio. These are free pieces of software. When it’s time, I’ll provide instruction to install this software.

Item Weight
Exam 1 20%
Exam 2 20%
Final Exam 30%
Computing Assignment 1 5%
Computing Assignment 2 5%
Misc. Exercises (1% each) 10%
Attendance 10%

Above is a summary of the graded assignments in the course, their due dates, and their weights.

• Exams. There are three exams throughout the semester. The exams are cumulative and focus on all of the material covered up to the exam, including the readings, lectures, and computing exercises. The exam is multiple choice and the questions come from the review exercises I’ve assigned up to that point in the semester. Exams include questions about statistical computing in R.
• Computing Assignments. As part of the class, we’ll learn about statistical computing in R. To demonstrate your ability with R, you’ll submit two short reports. I’ll provide detailed instructions at the appropriate time.
• Misc. Exercises. Periodically throughout the semester, I’ll assign exercises (e.g., submit a photo of yourself with your textbook and calculator) worth 1% each.
• Attendance. I’ll take attendance at the beginning of each class. You have three free absences. After three absences, I’ll deduct one point from the 10 possible attendance points for each absence. Excused absences do not deduct from your free absences. If you have more than 15 unexcused absences, then you will receive an F in the course. I also record late arrivals. Three lates arrivals equals one absense.

Your points in the course will translate into a letter grade using the table below:

A at least 93
A- at least 90
B+ at least 87
B at least 83
B- at least 80
C+ at least 77
C at least 73
C- at least 70
D+ at least 67
D at least 63
D- at least 60
F if less than 60

Federal guidelines define a single semester credit hour as “one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks.” I have made an effort to design this class following this definition. All students are different, but as a rough starting point: you should plan to spend about 6 hours per week outside of class on course material.

To help you with planning, here are my rough estimates for how much time to set aside for various assignments:

• Reading and doing the exercises: The reading and exercises after each class should take about two hours. Some will be much shorter. A few might take slightly longer.
• Reviewing for exams. You should plan to spend about six hours reviewing for each exam.
• Doing the misc. exercises. Plan to spend about 15 minutes on each misc. exercise.
• Doing the computing assignments. The computing assignments should take about two hours to complete and submit.

### Missed Classes and Late Assignments

#### University Attendance Policy

Excused absences include documented illness, deaths in the family and other documented crises, call to active military duty or jury duty, religious holy days, and official University activities. These absences will be accommodated in a way that does not arbitrarily penalize students who have a valid excuse. Consideration will also be given to students whose dependent children experience serious illness.

#### My Implementation

I realize there are more important things in life than my class. I will gladly make reasonable accommodations for important events (sibling’s wedding, illness) as long as you make arrangements beforehand if possible.

If you are going to miss a class, notify me before the class via e-mail. Your e-mail should explain and document why you are going to miss the class. In the case of an unexpected absence, notify me within the next two working days. Your e-mail should explain and document why you missed the class and why you could not notify me beforehand. I might follow up with a request for more documentation.

If you miss an in-class, graded assignment (e.g., exam), then I usually expect you to make up the assignment during my next office hours. To avoid advantaging some students over others, I might use an alternative make-up assignment.

If you are absent on a day that an out-of-class assignment is due (e.g., writing assignment), then I expect you to submit the assignment early unless you have made prior arrangements with me. I do not accept assignments submitted via email except in unusual circumstances.

Any computing assignment turned in late is penalized 20 percentage points per class. For example, if the computing assignment is due on Wednesday, I will simply subtract 20 points from your score if you turn it in by the beginning of the next class (usually Monday), 40 points if you turn it in by the beginning of the class after that (usually Monday) and so on.

Any misc. exercise submitted late is given a zero, unless the student has a university-sanctioned excuse.

The Florida State University Academic Honor Policy outlines the University’s expectations for the integrity of students’ academic work, the procedures for resolving alleged violations of those expectations, and the rights and responsibilities of students and faculty members throughout the process. Students are responsible for reading the Academic Honor Policy and for living up to their pledge to “…be honest and truthful and…[to] strive for personal and institutional integrity at Florida State University.” (Florida State University Academic Honor Policy, found at http://fda.fsu.edu/academic-resources/academic-integrity-and-grievances/academic-honor-policy.)

# American’s with Disabilities Act

Students with disabilities needing academic accommodation should:

1. Register with and provide documentation to the Student Disability Resource Center; and
2. Bring a letter to the instructor indicating the need for accommodation and what type.

Please note that instructors are not allowed to provide classroom accommodation to a student until appropriate verification from the Student Disability Resource Center has been provided.

This syllabus and other class materials are available in alternative format upon request.

Student Disability Resource Center
108 Student Services Building
Florida State University
Tallahassee, FL 32306-4167
(850) 644-9566 (voice)
(850) 644-8504 (TDD)

http://www.disabilitycenter.fsu.edu/

# Course Development

I develop the course materials and website on GitHub. If you see find a problem (even if you don’t see a solution), please open an issue. I keep this repo private to protect students’ privacy, but I’m (usually) happy to grant access to colleagues interested in borrowing and collaborating. If you want to contribute via pull request, the wiki describes how I work.

# Syllabus Change Policy

Except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation (grading) statement, this syllabus is a guide for the course and is subject to change with advance notice.

Changes

Jan. 9: Clarified late arrivals in attendance policy.

I also record late arrivals. Three lates arrivals equals one absense.

Jan. 9: Added important dates and office hours.

Carlisle Rainey