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Lecture 2

POLB80H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Research Question, Sodium Bicarbonate, Dependent And Independent Variables

Political Science
Course Code
Aisha Ahmad

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International Relations
Big themes
war, terrorism, trade, environment: these themes make up our globalized world
soft power: type of power projected internationally
Why does IR matters?
matters to human beings far away, and us-everyone is affected because its our
deeply intimate and personal: we are able to witness people across space (there is a
responsibility that comes with this connection)
theory is a necessary mechanism to use to find patterns
topics: international background, security, climate change, trade
The goal of theory: A set of assumptions about how the world works, which simplifies
the noise and allows us to see broader patterns
Helps us to explain a wide range of behaviour
People are are rational and utility maximizers
Theory is used to: explain existing phenomena and predict future patterns and trends
A good theory is measured by: parsimony (you have very few tools that explain a
wide range of phenomena) and accuracy
What is a Paradigm?
Paradigm: is a family of theories, which share a common set of assumptions
Most IR theories (i.e. realism, liberalism)
How to Read
1. Research question (e.g. why do civll wars break out in some cases then others?)
What drives the author to write this piece?
2. The thesis statement: the answer+explanation to the research question
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