Lecture Notes for Quantitative Social Science Methods, I

These are the slides I used for lecture in spring 2019. When I lecture, I go through as much material as possible at each lecture, subject to the constraint that everyone follows what I'm doing. The speed at which I go is therefore dependent on the composition of each year's class and the questions that arise. As such, the slides below are not broken up into distinct weeks (I seem to go through roughly 15-20 pages in a weekly session lasting almost 2 hours, but issues and topics not represented here are covered most weeks).  

Separate PDF versions of the slides...

Read more about Lecture Notes for Quantitative Social Science Methods, I


After the foundational material is presented (roughly the first third of the class), I will introduce a large variety of statistical models and methods.  I will choose these based on what makes sense from a pedagogical perspective at first, but as the semester goes on I will choose more and more material based on students interest and class projects.

For more information on the content of the class, see the detailed lecture notes online, which gives a general outline.  Here's another version of some of the material:


Read more about Outline


For students who've taken a course in linear regression (such as Harvard's Gov2000), this course gives you the tools to learn new statistical methods or build them yourself.  We focus on methods practically useful in real social science research.  We aim to give you two types of skills

First, we show how to develop new approaches to research methods, data analysis, and statistical theory.   More advanced statistical theory is not required when data and variables follow standard assumptions. Since this is not usually the case in most of the...

Read more about Overview

Problem Sets and Annotations

Each week, you will have reading and problem sets.  

Reading assignments will be acquired and done in You will also collaboratively annotate the readings, asking questions you may have, answering other students' questions, and generally engaging with the material and each other. To get started in Perusall, see Getting Started. We will explain more in Section as well.

We strongly encourage you to work together in...

Read more about Problem Sets and Annotations


All reading assignments must be acquired and read at the web site Perusall (which can also be accessed through Canvas, Harvard's learning management system). Perusall will enable you to obtain answers to questions instantly and to work collaboratively with other members of class....

Read more about Readings

Replication Paper

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 absurdly 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...

Read more about Replication Paper

Special Rules for Extension and Distance Learning Students

This course is being offered as part of the Harvard Extension School's Distance Education Program. The recorded class meetings that you will view are from the Harvard FAS course, Government 2001, and this meets once per week throughout the term.  Even though your participation will take place online, you are responsible for homework, readings, quizzes, and all other work.  There will also be weekly on-campus section meetings and office hours for students who are able to attend, or watch the videotape of the section. Please see the...

Read more about Special Rules for Extension and Distance Learning Students

What to Expect in Class

Most in-class experience will be lecture-based, but some parts are designed as a collective experience.  This means that other students will be counting on you (and you on them), and so please come to class prepared.  If you don't understand something, that's perfectly fine; we'll figure it out together and make sure no one is left behind.  But if you don't put in the effort, it will hurt what everyone gets out of the class. If you have a question about one of the readings, post a question in Perusall. If you think you may know an answer to a query another...

Read more about What to Expect in Class

Who Takes This Course? Do I have to take it for a grade? Can I sit in?

Following Gov 2000 or the equivalent course in linear regression, Gov2001 is the second in the methods sequence for Government Department graduate and undergraduate students.  While not required, most Government graduate students doing empirical work take the course.  Graduate students in other departments and schools at Harvard (and in the area) also take the course. Undergraduates are especially welcome to take Gov 1002, which is taught along with this class.  Non-Harvard students and others may also take this course by ...

Read more about Who Takes This Course? Do I have to take it for a grade? Can I sit in?