What Is Gov 2001/Stat E-200?

This is a first graduate course in political methodology, the methodological subfield of the discipline of political science, akin to econometrics within economics, psychometrics within psychology, sociological methodology within sociology, biostatistics within public health and medicine, and many others. These methodological subfields are increasingly interconnected across disciplines and are often known collectively as data science, applied statistics, or computational social science. Political science is an unusually diverse discipline, welcoming of an exceptionally broad array of approaches, substantive questions, theories, and scholars. As such, learning data science within political methodology gives you experience with a broader array of specific methods and a deeper, more unifying perspective, even when hailing from other areas.

In this course, we give you the tools necessary to do high quality scholarly research. This involves (1) learning statistical inference, using facts you know to learn about facts you don’t know, so that you feel completely comfortable using these methods in your own research. With this knowledge, you should be able to easily digest articles about new methods invented after this class ends, implement the methods, apply them to your data, interpret the results, and explain them to others. You will also learn (2) how to write and publish novel substantive contributions in scholarly journals. This sounds hard, but almost everyone gets there and numerous graduate and undergraduate students in this class in previous years have published revised versions of their class papers in scholarly journals, often as their first professional publication. Large numbers of class papers have also turned into books, senior theses, dissertations, and conference presentations, and many have won awards and have been reported in the media.

Prerequisites: (1) an undergraduate quantitative social science methods class (covering introductory data analysis, regression, and probability) and (2) good working knowledge of the free and open source statistical software package R.  Both can be learned by doing exercises in (i.e., not merely reading) Kosuke Imai's book Quantitative Social Science: An Introduction or studying the material in Matt Blackwell’s Gov 51 course.

To see where Gov2001 fits in our sequence, see Political Methodology in the Government Department.

Before the first class on Wednesday August 31st:  watch the first lecture.