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1.3 - Research Methods

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Margaret Hanson

on 20 January 2017

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Transcript of 1.3 - Research Methods

Correlation vs. Causation
Key Components
Question:
What is the problem we are trying to explain?
Theory:
The explanation we propose.
Hypothesis:
Theory-based answer to the question that interests us.
Variables:
Factors important in our theory.
Hypothesis
CAUSE
Variables
Variables come in three "flavors":
Independent variables
Dependent variables
Controls
Ideal way to test a hypothesis...
Research Methods
Remember, your quiz opens in Carmen on Friday and ends Sunday.

Get in touch if you have questions.
Comparative politics relies on the
scientific method
.

"Tools for people who want to do political science good, and do other science good, too."


Research Methods
EFFECT
Spuriousness 1:
Omitted Variable Bias
Economic Development
Democracy
Spuriousness 2: Reverse Causation
ECONOMIC GROWTH
DEMOCRACY
Quantitative vs. Qualitative
Regression table
Quantitative methods:
Statistical
Use many cases
Generalizable
Qualitative methods:
Analytical
Use just a few cases
Greater detail
Comparative Method
Most different systems design:
same outcome, different attributes
Most similar systems design:
different outcome, similar attributes
Challenges in using the scientific method in comparative politics:
Conceptualization
-- What do we mean when we say democracy?
Measurement
-- How do we measure democracy?
People
-- and thus politics -- are constantly changing.
Photo credits:

http://michaelnorthrop.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/zoolander-school1.jpg
http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa13/assets_c/2013/12/messy-baby-eating-in-high-chair250aaol-lifestyle-uk111010-thumb-250x300-392646.jpg
http://imgs.ntd.tv/content/20130118-cnw-04_china-not-free-freedom-house-2013-freedom-report.jpg
http://www.getfilecloud.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/building-blocks.jpg
http://frameagain.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Ice-cream-7.jpg
http://www.nova.edu/spotlights/images/endeavor.jpg
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_sTqVIl4_vmA/SWqR7x2ypFI/AAAAAAAAFec/EEt1ETpY0cs/s400/Nat.Hentoff.messy.office.nyc600.jpg
http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/seminar/1999/reforms/Rodrik-1.gif
http://i.stack.imgur.com/4VMnS.png
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/12/19/C0044096-Korea_at_night,_satellite_image-SPL.jpg

Theory = systematic explanation of some phenomenon.


Conceptualization: What is democracy?

Measurement: How do we measure it?
Where do we start?
Basic idea
Democracy
Does correlation = causation?
Quantitative Methods
Scientific Method
Ask a Question
Do Background Research
Construct a Hypothesis
Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Communicate Your Results
Claim
Reasons
Evidence
North vs. South Korea
http://www.wsj.com/video/syria-a-brief-history/2D7BB798-53DD-4066-9D88-51DF668464A1.html
What explains the outbreak of the Syrian civil war?

1) State 1-2 hypotheses.
2) What are your independent variables?
3) What evidence would you need?
4) What challenges might you face in collecting this evidence?
Snow's Discovery
Theory
Hypothesis
Dependent variable
Independent variable/s
Evidence
What's the puzzle here?
We examine theories that are:
Empirical
Testable
(testable statement)
A good theory is...
Falsifiable
Testable
Replicable
Full transcript