This course will introduce you to the various ways in which political scientists study political phenomena. We will consider a variety of research methods, including historical case study research, ﬁeld research, quantitative analysis, survey research, experimental techniques, and more. Whatever the research method, one of the central objectives of the course is for students to come away with a clear understanding of how to evaluate causal relationships in the political world.
In learning about these tools, we will consider a variety of real-world applications. For example, why do states give up some of their independence in order to participate in multilateral international institutions? How did Bill Clinton’s gender aﬀect responses to the Monica Lewinsky scandal (and how can we know for sure)? Why did Presidents Kennedy and Johnson take diﬀerent approaches to intervening in Vietnam? What is the eﬀect of development aid on community-building after civil war? When do Latino immigrants decide to become American citizens? Do strict gun control laws reduce or increase crime? These kinds of questions are the backdrops we will use to learn about how to do political science research.