The main assignment is to write a research paper that replicates an existing piece of scholarship. The goal of the paper is to apply some advanced method to, or develop one for, a substantive problem in your field of study. You should aim to produce a publishable article, and, in fact, most students do publish their final paper in a scholarly journal. (I know it sounds hard, but that's only because you haven't learned some of the material we go over in class!) More information about the paper can be found at http://gking.harvard.edu/papers/.
You must choose a co-author and a paper to replicate by Wednesday, February 26, at 5pm, by which point you should email us a PDF copy of the paper along with a brief paragraph explaining your choice. On Wednesday, March 26, you must turn in a draft of the paper with little text but with figures and tables, and a proposed table of contents for your paper, in a relatively polished form. You should also arrange to hand over all of the data and information necessary to replicate the results of your analysis and reproduce your tables and figures. (Many students email their files; students with larger datasets often set up shared Dropboxes.) On that day, you will hand over your paper and materials to another student, and, in exchange, you will receive another student's paper. Your task for the following week is to replicate the other student's analysis and write a memo to this student (with a copy to us), pointing out ways to make the paper and the analysis better. You will be evaluated based on how helpful, not how destructive, you are.
The final version of the paper is due the day before Reading Period, Wednesday April 30, at 5pm. You must turn in a hard copy of the paper and arrange to hand over all data and code (either by email or by Dropbox). You must also follow standard academic practice and create a permanent replication archive by uploading all your data and code to the Gov2001 Dataverse (http://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/gov2001).
If you need an extension with the replication paper, you do not need to ask permission: We will accept papers until Monday, May 5, at 5pm, but since you will have had more time, papers turned in after the April 30 deadline will be graded according to proportionately higher standards. The number of incompletes we plan to give is governed by a Poisson distribution with λ=0.01, so please plan accordingly.
Once all papers are turned in, we will turn over your replication paper to another student, and assign you a replication paper to evaluate. Your last assignment for the class will then be to read and comment on a fellow student's work and to grade this student according to certain guidelines we will provide. Your main objective is to give the student feedback on what changes and improvements need to happen in order for the paper to be published. As always, you will be evaluated based on how helpful, not how destructive, you are. Your comments on your fellow student's paper are due Monday, May 13, at 5pm.