Research Methods II (POLS 401)

2022 Spring
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Mert Moral,
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Formal lecture,Field work/field study/on-the-job
Communicative,Discussion based learning,Project based learning,Case Study
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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.


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.


  • Understand the use of survey methods for scientific research on public opinion and electoral behavior.
  • 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.
  • Organize survey data, report descriptive statistics, and test a bivariate hypothesis.


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



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.