Methods and Scope of Political Analysis (POLS 529)

2021 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Mert Moral,
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Doctoral, Master
Formal lecture,Seminar,Recitation,Laboratory
Communicative,Discussion based learning,Project based learning,Task based learning
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This course provides an introduction to philosophy of social sciences, various methodological approaches in political science and research methods and analysis. Components of research design, measurement, validity, data collection strategies and logic of inference are discussed. Various research design examples are provided from the recent political science literature and students are exposed to research process, article evaluation and thesis proposal writing. It also aims to expose students to ethical considerations in research and publishing.


There is a myriad of ways to obtain scientific knowledge about social and political phenomena that political scientists are interested in better understanding and explaining. The main goal of this course is not to provide you with all such tools at our disposal, but with a survey of those, and necessary knowledge and basic skills to understand, evaluate, and conduct scientific research. Having been introduced to qualitative and quantitative reasoning, and political science methodology will help you develop the required skillset to \critically and \constructively evaluate other scholarly research as well as a sense of how your future research agenda, including but not limited to your M.A. thesis/Ph.D. dissertation, should look like.

Since research design constitutes the ``nuts and bolts'' of scientific research and, as political scientists, we should all be able to communicate ``what we think we know'' to our audience, this course will focus extensively on research design and communicating ``how we came to know what we think we know.'' Following a general introduction to the epistemology of science in the first part, you will therefore spend the second part of the semester thinking about how to approach puzzling social and political phenomena, conceptualize and operationalize various factors (that may or may not be) influencing them, design appropriate theoretical and empirical models, and communicate those to your audience (and write) effectively.


By the end of this semester, students will be not only introduced to research design, measurement, and causal inference as the three major topics in political methodology, but also able to evaluate scholarly research and design your own independent research.


  Percentage (%)
Final 25
Assignment 35
Participation 10
Individual Project 20
Presentation 10



* Acock, Alan C. 2018. A Gentle Introduction to Stata. 6th Edition. College Station, TX:
Stata Press.
* Kellstedt, Paul M. and Guy D. Whitten. 2018. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. 3rd Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press.
* King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba. 1994. Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
* Wooldridge, Jeffrey M. 2019 Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach. 7th Edition. Mason, OH: South-Western, Cengage Learning.


* See the official syllabus uploaded to the course page on SU Course for the assigned journal articles.