FOUNDATIONS OF RESEARCH IN POLITICAL SCIENCE
DR. STEPHANIE MULLEN
Course schedule: Wednesday 7-10 pm
Office: Social Science Building, Room
Office hours: By appt. any weekday or by email any weekday or weekend.
E-mail: [email protected]
OFFICIAL COURSE DESCRIPTION
Introduction to the fundamental dimensions of research. Presentation of several epistemological
approaches and the questions they raise. Study of diverse logics of enquiry and their modes of
inference. Introduction to some techniques and methods. Elaboration of a research project
covering all of the required steps.
GENERAL COURSE DESCRIPTION
This course provides an introduction and overview of the research process and helps develop
critical perspectives (e.g., methodological, ethical, practical) on the ways that research methods
are implicated in the production of knowledge in political science. It is intended to provide
students with a sound foundation in the general principles of research methods (i.e., both
qualitative and quantitative techniques used to gather and analyze data) and their application in
political science (e.g., surveys, interviews and field research). Students will learn the steps
necessary to undertake a research project: what questions to ask, how to design and proceed
through the research project, how to operationalize theoretical concepts, and how to gather and
The Research Process, Canadian Edition. Bouma, Ling & Wilkinson.
25 % Research WorkshopthAttendance (5 Workshops X 5 Mark Each)
35 % Midterm (Oct. 9 )
40% Final Exam (During University Exam Period)
For useful tips on how to write a University paper, please refer to the following Website:
Foundations of Research in Political Science (POL 2156) Page 1 of 5 COURSE OUTLINE
Sept.4 - Theme 1: Introduction to the Course
Required Reading: Chapter 1
Sept. 11 - Theme 1: Ethics in Research
Required Reading: Chapter 9
Barrie Thorne “You Still Takin’ Notes?” Fieldwork and Problems of Informed Consent”
Chapter 7 in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber & Patricia Leavy’s Approaches to
Qualitative Research pg 159-176.
Sept. 18 – Theme 1: Theories and Paradigms & Qualitative & Quantitative Research Designs
Required Reading: Chapters 2 & 4
Mark Rank “The Blending of Qualitative and Quantitative Methods in Understanding
Childbearing among Welfare Recipients” Chapter 4 in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber & Patricia
Leavy’s Approaches to Qualitative Research pg 81-96.
Sept. 25 – Theme 1: Steps in Research Design & Causal Models
Required Reading: Chapter 3
M. Neil Browne, Asking the Right Questions: A Guide to Critical Thinking. Any Chapter
Oct. 2 – Theme 1: Concepts to Variables to Indicators, Theme 2: Sampling & Exam Review
Required Reading: Chapter 5
Charles Gallagher “White Like Me? Methods, Meaning, and Manipulation…” Chapter 10 in
Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber & Patricia Leavy’s Approaches to Qualitative Research.
Oct. 9 – Midterm (On material from Theme 1 including all required readings, class lecture
material, guest lectures, and lab work. Takes approx. 2 weeks to mark and post grades)
Required Reading: Chapter 8
Oct. 16 - Study Break
Foundations of Research in Political Science (POL 2156) Page 2 of 5 Oct 23 - Theme 2: Research Process – Observation & Lab
Required Reading: Chapters 6 & 7
Workshop: Lab 1: Field Observation
Kath Weston “Fieldwork in Lesbian and Gay Communities” Chapter 8 in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-
Biber & Patricia Leavy’s Approaches to Qualitative Research pg 177-184.
Oct. 30 - Theme 2: Research Process – Interview & Lab
Required Reading: Chapter 7 con’t
Workshop: Lab 2: Mock Interview
William Miller & Benjamin Crabtree “Depth Interviewing” Chapter 24 in Sharlene Nagy Hesse-
Biber & Patricia Leavy’s Approaches to Qualitative Research pg 185-202.
Nov. 6 - Theme 2: Research Process – Survey
Required Reading: Chapter 7 con’t
Smith, Tom W., "That Which We Call Welfare By Any Other Name, An Analysis of the Impact
of Question Wording on Response Patterns," Public Opinion Quarterly, vol. 51, number 1, 1987.
Nov. 13 – Theme 3: Research Task – Literature Review & Bibliographies & Lab
Required Reading: Chapter 10
Workshop: Lab 3: Literature Review
Carlson & Hyde, Doing Empirical Political Research Chapter 4 and 5
Nov. 20 - Theme 3: Research Task – Data Coding & Archiving & Lab
Required Reading: Chapter 10 con’t
Workshop: Lab 4: Data Collection & Archiving (Interview)
Nov. 27 –Theme 3: Research Task – Data Collecting, Presentation, Lab, Exam Review &
Required Reading: Chapters 11 & 12
Workshop: Lab 5: Introduction to SPSS
Foundations of Research in Political Science (POL 2156) Page 3 of 5 Class attendance is necessary to successfully complete this course.
You will also be judged on your writing abilities. It is recommended to take the appropriate measures to
avoid mistakes such as spelling, syntax, punctuation, inappropriate use of terms, etc. You may be
penalized up to 15%, to the professor’s discretion.
Late submissions are not tolerated. Exceptions are made only for illness or other serious situations deemed
as such by the professor. There will be a penalty for late submissions. University regulations require all
absences from exams and all late submissions due to illness to be supported by a medical certificate.
Absence for any other serious reason must be justified in writing, to the academic assistants of the Faculty,
within five business days following the date of the exam or submission of an assignment. The Facu