Research Methods II (POLS 401)

2020 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
3
6.00 / 6.00 ECTS (for students admitted in the 2013-14 Academic Year or following years)
Mert Moral mmoral@sabanciuniv.edu,
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English
Undergraduate
SPS311
Formal lecture,Field work/field study/on-the-job
Communicative,Discussion based learning,Project based learning,Case Study
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CONTENT

This course aims to provide an introductory exposure to survey research techniques in political science. It starts with a comparative assessment of the kind of questions survey research is most able to answer and sources of error associated with this methodology. It next clarifies different stages of survey planning and moves on to discuss questionnaire design issues. Next, the discussion focuses on sampling techniques, survey data analysis and reporting. All discussions are illustrated within the framework of a small project that is carried out by course participants.

OBJECTIVE

Surveys have long provided researchers with representative, reliable, and valid information, and served as an indispensable tool for our understanding of especially public opinion and electoral behavior. The main objective of this course is to introduce advanced undergraduate and graduate students to a set of universally recognized principles that have been guiding scientific survey studies in the last decades.

Over the course of the semester, we will focus on all major stages of survey research ?i.e., research question formulation, sampling, mode of data collection, questionnaire design, pilot testing, interviewing, as well as cleaning, managing, and weighting survey data, and simple hypothesis testing employing survey data. This course pays particular attention to practice as well. We will examine and evaluate several national and cross-national survey studies, and applied social science research. Moreover, students will design their own survey instruments, and acquire the necessary software skills commensurate with their level to be able to examine, edit, and weight survey data, and employ survey data for hypothesis testing.

Upon completion of this course, students will be equipped with the fundamental skills to design, carry out, and evaluate survey studies, and have a thorough understanding of the scientific methods used to collect survey data, and advantages, limitations, and all major stages of survey research.

No prior experience or course work in survey methodology is required for this course. However, many course topics are technical and may require further explanation. Moreover, survey research includes elements of both art and science. While traditional lectures and assigned materials will cover the scientific nature of survey research, the art part requires getting your hands dirty. Hence, both undergraduate and graduate students will be asked to design their own survey instruments. Other course requirements consist of a take-home midterm and a final examination, four short assignments, participation in in-class and online discussions, and attendance for undergraduate students; a take-home midterm exam, four short assignments, attendance and participation in in-class and online discussions, and a final research paper for graduate students.

LEARNING OUTCOME

Understand the usefulness of survey methods for conducting scientific research on public opinion and electoral behavior.
Understand threats to reliability and validity.
Understand differences across distinct sampling techniques and how they can ensure the estimation of population parameters.
Identify their sources and extent, and reduce bias and error in survey studies.
Learn best practices in collecting survey data.
Evaluate the quality of survey studies in terms of sampling, interviewing procedures, and questionnaire design.
Design and implement an original survey paying particular attention to design features in scientific survey research.
Organize survey data, report descriptive statistics, and test a bivariate hypothesis.

PROGRAMME OUTCOMES


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 4

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 5

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects. 5

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 4

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 5


1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 5

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 4

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 5


1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 4

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 5


1. Analyze global affairs from international relations and economics perspectives. 3

2. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of the international affairs. 3

3. Compete for increasing opportunities in careers within the newly emerging global institutions. 4

4. Evaluate the international political events and present their views and positions on international affairs with advanced oral and written skills. 4

ASSESSMENT METHODS and CRITERIA

  Percentage (%)
Final 30
Midterm 25
Assignment 35
Participation 10

RECOMENDED or REQUIRED READINGS

Textbook

Groves, Robert M., Floyd J. Fowler, Mick P. Couper, James M. Lepkowski, Eleanor Singer, and Roger Tourangeau. 2009. Survey Methodology. Second Edition. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.