[INTL 3300] - Midterm Exam Guide - Ultimate 16 pages long Study Guide!

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INTL 3300
MIDTERM EXAM
STUDY GUIDE
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INTL 3300 - Lecture 1: The Comparative Method I
Formulating a Research Question
-5 Ws: Who, What, Where, When, and Why
“Why” is the question we seek to answer in comparative politics
-Job of a comparativist: develop theories about why, how, what are the causes, and whether
-Characteristics of a good research question:
Specificity: the question should be specific, but still open-ended so it is open to numerous
possible answers; also should address a certain time period
-“Why are some countries democratic and others not?” would be better as “Why did
South Korea become democratic while North Korea became Communist in the 1940s?”
-“How did French defeat in World War II lead to France’s decision not to support the Iraq
War in 2003?” is too leading to a biased argument and would be better as “Why did
France opt not to support the Iraq War in 2003?”
Empirical: questions should be empirical rather than normative
-Empirical: drawn from real-world observations
Example: “Why did South Korea become democratic while North Korea became
Communist in the 1940s?”
-Normative: questions morality or ethicality
Example: “Why is a democratic form of government better than an authoritarian form
of government?”
Falsifiability: a good hypothesis should have the ability to be proven wrong by evidence
-Ask about causes rather than consequences
-Normative questions are not falsifiable
-Variables: causes and effects that we try to measure
Variables must vary
Causes: also can be called independent variables, explanatory variables, or X
Effects: also can be called dependent variables, outcomes, or Y
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Control variables: held constant in order to assess the relationship between 2 other
variables
-Not of primary concern in the experi
-Variables
X leads to Y
“Why did South Korea become democratic while North Korea became Communist in the
1940s?”
-Independent variables: “Why,” characteristics of North and South Korea
-Dependent variable: government type - democratic vs. authoritarian (Communist)
Before Formulating A Hypothesis
-After identifying your variables, you need to:
1. Conceptualize: make up or define variables/concepts
-Use literatures or create your own
-Definitions are usually only one sentence
2. Operationalize: make a variable/concept measurable so that readers know your
standards/criteria
-Operational definition must align with the conceptualized definition; ex. if you
conceptualize democracy with the presence of elections, you must measure democracy
with elections
-Example of operationalization:
3. Measure
Democracy
Freedom
Control
Equality
Each of these are called
“indicators;” break these down
and define each further.
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