PO218- Midterm Exam Guide - Comprehensive Notes for the exam ( 67 pages long!)

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PO218
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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1 January 5, 2016
Lecture 1: Introduction
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My tutorial Tutorial 2 11:00-11:50 BA 206
Review
The Scientific Method:
The goal of the scientific method is explanation
A political phenomenon is explained by showing how it is related to something else
Empiricism:
Requires that every knowledge claim be based upon systematic observation
What is “Intersubjectivity” and why it is so important?
Intersubjectivity:
o Transmissible
o Replicable
What are Concepts?
A word or symbol that represents some idea
Conceptualization: the mental process whereby fuzzy and imprecise notions (concepts)
are made more specific and precise
o Conceptualization involves a process of generalization and abstraction
Concepts serve two key functions
o Tools for data gathering
o Essential building blocks of theories
Nominal vs. Operational Definitions
Every concept must be given a:
o Nominal (conceptual) definition
o Operational definition
What can we do with concepts?
Concepts can provide a basis for:
o Classification what goes in and what does not go in
o Comparison compare variables that is more or less
o Quantification exact known distances between categories
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2 January 5, 2016
What is a Theory?
Theories tie concepts together by stating relationships between them
A theory consists of a set of propositions (or empirical generalizations) that are all
logically related to one another
Inductive and Deductive graphs online
Characteristics of useful theories
Testability
Internal consistency (logical soundness) cannot contradict itself
Communicable
Generality
Simplicity (or parsimony)
Predictive accuracy
What is a Variable?
Any property that varies (i.e. takes on different values) can potentially be a variable
Variables vs. Concepts
Variables require more specific than concepts
One concept may be represented by several different variables
Variables must be: exhaustive and exclusive
Concept
Variable
Economic dependency
Reliance on a limited number of trading
partners
Reliance on a limited ranges of exports
Extent of foreign ownership
Socio-economic dependency
Income
Occupation
Education
Political sophistication
Ability to use left-right terminology
Level of information about politics
Independent vs. Dependent Variables
Dependent Variable: phenomenon that we want to explain
Independent Variable: Factor that is presumed to explain the dependent variable
Example: the lower a person’s income (IV), the less likely they think that politicians
keep their promises (DV)
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