FACULTY OF ECONOMIC AND ADMINISTRATIVE SCIENCESPOLITICAL SCIENCE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION


ADM 5302 Research Methods

 

  

 

Middle East Technical University

Department of Political Science and Public Administration

 

 

RESEARCH METHODS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES

 

 

Instructor:                                                                  Office:

E-mail:                                                                        Office Hours:

 

COURSE CONTENT

 

The aim of the course is to provide the graduate students with a basic foundation for undertaking advanced research in any area of the social sciences. We will discuss some issues in the philosophy of science, then analyze questions of conceptualization and measurement, proceeding to problems of descriptive inference, objectivity, and causal inference, including the role of causal mechanisms. The seminar will continue with examining various methods and tools of data collection and analysis used in qualitative and quantitative research including surveys and questionnaires, experimental methods, interviews, field work, content and discourse analyses, case studies and small-n research as well as some basic techniques of statistical data analysis.

 

 

METHOD OF ASSESSMENT

 

There will be no exam. Instead, you will be required to complete the following assignments.

 

Assignment #1:     preparing a one or two-paragraph written commentary every week on issues presented by two of the readings assigned (a total of 10 short response papers, 40%);

Assignment #2:     deciding on a research topic that can be empirically investigated (5%);

Assignment #3:     doing a literature review on that topic and preparing a 5- to 6-page report (double spaced, using a 12-point font such as Times New Roman) on the theoretical, methodological and empirical aspects of three particular studies related to your topic of interest (15%);

Assignment #4:     formulating a research question in light of the literature review done (10%);

Assignment #5:     preparing an 8- to 10-page report (double spaced, using a 12-point font such as Times New Roman) explaining the method(s) you prefer over the other alternatives to study the research question in hand, the key concepts of the study and how they can be defined and measured within the framework of your research design (10%);

Assignment #6:     preparing a research proposal of 15 to 16 pages where you spell out your research question, provide a description of the related literature (theoretical, methodological and empirical discussions), explain your methodology (including the issues of measurement, sampling, data collection and data analysis), and provide a schedule for completing the various stages of your research within a given amount of time (20%).

 

 

REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS

 

A copy of all the readings (see the course schedule below) will be made available to students at least a week before we study them in class. Students will be responsible for taking a hard copy of each week’s course pack.

 

 

COURSE POLICIES

 

Assignments/Exams: Due dates are final (unless you have a documented family or medical emergency).

Academic Integrity: All assignments must be the original work of a student and not used for any other course.

 

 

COURSE SCHEDULE

 

Week 1: Introduction

 

 

Week 2: Promise and Limits of Social Science / Choosing Questions

 

Weber, Max. (1946). “Science as a Vocation” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology (eds. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills). New York: Oxford University Press.

 

King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, Sidney Verba. (1994). “The Science in Social Science” in Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Geddes, Barbara (2003). “Big Questions, Little Answers: How the Questions You Choose Affect the Answers You Get” in Paradigms and Sand Castles: Theory Building and Research Design in Comparative Politics. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

 

 

 

Week 3: Positivistic and Non-Positivistic Approaches

 

(Assignment #2 due)

 

Rosenberg, Alexander. (2008). “What is the Philosophy of Social Science?” and “Social Science and the Enduring Questions of Philosophy” in Philosophy of Social Science. Boulder: Westview Press.

 

Van Evera, Stephen. (1997). “Methodology Myths” in Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

 

Feyerabend, Paul. (1993). “Introduction” and Parts 1-5, 14-15 and 17 in Against MethodNew York: Verso.

 

Geertz, Clifford. (1973). “Thick Description: Toward an Interpretive Theory of Culture” in The Interpretation of Cultures. New York: Basic Books Publishers.

 

 

Week 4 : Concepts and Measurement

 

Babbie, Earl. (2007). “Conceptualization, Operationalization, and Measurement” in The Practice of Social Research. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

 

Neuman, W. Lawrence. (2007). “Qualitative and Quantitative Measurement” in Basics of Social Research. Boston: Pearson Education.

 

Shively, W. Phillips. (2009). “Problems of Measurement: Accuracy” and “Problems of Measurement: Precision” in The Craft of Political Research. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

 

Adcock, Robert and David Collier. (2001). “Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research.” The American Political Science Review, Vol. 95, No. 3, pp. 529-546.

 

 

Week 5: Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

 

Bryman, Alan. (1984). “The Debate About Quantitative and Qualitative Research: A Question of Method or Epistemology.” The Britih Journal of Sociology. Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 75-92.

 

Berg, Bruce L. (2001). “Introduction” in Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Goertz, Gary and James Mahoney. (2012). “Introduction” in A Tale of Two Cultures: Qualitative and Quantitative Research in the Social Sciences. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Newman, Isadore and Carolyn R. Benz. (1998). “Qualitative-Quantitative Research: A False Dichotomy” and “Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods: An Interactive Continuum” in Qualitative-Quantitative Research Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

 

King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, Sidney Verba. (1994). “Descriptive Inference” in Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

 

Week 6: Causality, Counterfactuals, and Causal Inference

 

(Assignment #3 due)

 

Shively, W. Phillips. (2009). “Causal Thinking and Design of Research” in The Craft of Political Research. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall.

 

King, Gary, Robert O. Keohane, Sidney Verba. (1994). “Causality and Causal Inference” in Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

 

Van Evera, Stephen. (1997). “How Can Theories Be Tested,” “Strong vs. Weak Tests; Predictions and Tests,” “Helpful Hints for Testing Theories” and “How Can Specific Events Be Explained” in Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

 

Elster, Jon. (1989). “Mechanisms” in Nuts and Bolts for the Social Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

Fearon, James D. (1991). “Counterfactuals and Hypothesis Testing in Political Science.” World Politics, Vol. 43, No. 2, pp. 169-195.

 

 

Week 7: Sampling, Surveys and Questionnaires

 

Hoffman, Lindsay H. and Dannagal Goldthwaite Young. (2011). “Political Communication Survey Research: Challenges, Trends, and Opportunities” in The Sourcebook for Political Communication Research: Methods, Measures, and Analytical Techniques (eds. Erik P. Bucy and R. Lance Holbert). New York: Routledge.

Bradburn, Norman, Seymour Sudman, Brian Wansink. (2004). “The Social Context of Question Asking” in Asking Questions: The Definitive Guide to Questionnaire Design. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

 

Schaeffer, Nora Cate and Stanley Presser. (2003). “The Science of Asking Questions.” Annual Review of Sociology. Vol. 29, pp. 65-88.

 

Becker, Howard S. (1998). “Sampling” in Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You’re Doing It. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

 

Babbie, Earl. (2008). “The Logic of Sampling” in The Basics of Social Research. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth

           

 

Week 8: Experimental Methods

 

(Assignment #4 due)

 

Babbie, Earl. (2007). “Experiments” in The Practice of Social Research. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

 

McDermott, Rose. (2002). “Experimental Methods in Political Science.” Annual Review of Political Science. Vol. 5, pp. 31-61.

 

Green, Donald P. and Alan S. Gerber. (2002). “Reclaiming the Experimental Tradition in Political Science” in Political Science: State of the Discipline (eds. Ira Katznelson and Helen V. Milner). New York, Norton.

 

Iyengar, Shanto. (2011). “Experimental Designs for Political Communication Research: Using New Technology and Online Participant Pools to Overcome the Problem of Generalizability” in The Sourcebook for Political Communication Research: Methods, Measures, and Analytical Techniques (eds. Erik P. Bucy and R. Lance Holbert). New York: Routledge.

 

 

Week 9: Interviews

 

Weiss, Robert S. (1994). “Introduction” and “Interviewing” in Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. New York: Free Press.

 

Berg, Bruce L. (2001). “A Dramaturgical Look at Interviewing” in Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Atkinson, Paul and Martyn Hammersley. (2003). “Oral Accounts and the Role of Interviewing” in Ethnography: Principles in Practice. New York: Routledge.

 

Guest, Greg, Arwen Bunce and Laura Johnson. (2006). “How Many Interviews Are Enough?: An Experiment with Data Saturation and Variability.” Field Methods, Vol. 18, No. 1, 59-82.

 

 

 

 

 

Week 10: Archival and Field Research

 

Berg, Bruce L. (2001). “Ethnographic Field Strategies” and “Unobtrusive Measures in Research” in Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

 

Wood, Elisabeth J. (2007). “Field Research” in The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Politics. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Emerson, Robert M., Rachel I. Fretz and Linda L. Shaw. (1995). “Processing Fieldnotes: Coding and Memoing” in Writing Ethnographic Fieldnotes. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

 

 

Week 11: Content and Quantitative Narrative Analysis

 

Neuendorf, Kimberly A. (2002). “Defining Content Analysis,” “Beyond Description: An Integrative Model of Content Analysis,” “Message Units and Sampling” and “Variables and Predictions” in The Content Analysis Guidebook. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

 

Weber, Robert P. (1990). Basic Content Analysis. Newbury Park: Sage

 

Franzosi, Roberto. (2010). “Orientation,” “Text Genres, Narrative, and Story Grammars” and “What Things to Do with Words” in Quantitative Narrative Analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

 

Zhang, Yan and Barbara M. Wildemuth. (2009). “Qualitative Analysis of Content” in Applications of Social Research Methods to Questions in Information and Library Science. Westport: Libraries Unlimited.

 

Hsieh, Hsiu-Fang and Sarah E. Shannon. (2005). “Three Approaches to Qualitative Content Analysis.” Qualitative Health Research. Vol. 15, No. 9, pp. 1277-1288.

 

 

Week 12: Discourse Analysis

 

Fairclough, Norman. (2001). “Critical Discourse Analysis as a Method in Social Scientific Research” in Methods of Critical Discourse Analysis. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

 

Herrera, Yoshiko M. and Bear F. Braumoeller. (2004). Symposium: Discourse and Content Analysis. Qualitative Methods, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 15-40.

 

Wodak, Ruth. (2008). “Introduction: Discourse Studies – Important Concepts and Terms” in Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences (eds. Ruth Wodak and Michal Krzyżanowski). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

 

Reisigl, Martin. (2008). “Analyzing Political Rhetoric” in Qualitative Discourse Analysis in the Social Sciences (eds. Ruth Wodak and Michal Krzyżanowski). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

 

 

Week 13: Case Studies and Small-N Research

 

Gerring, John. (2004). “What Is a Case Study and What Is It Good For?” The American Political Science Review. Vol. 98. No. 2, pp. 341-354.

 

Van Evera, Stephen. (1997). “What Are Case Studies? How Should They Be Performed?” in Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

 

Van Wynsberghe, Rob and Samia Khan. (2007). “Redefining Case Study.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods. Vol. 6, No. 2, pp. 80-94.

 

Thacher, David. (2006). “The Normative Case Study.” American Journal of Sociology. Vol. 111, No. 6, pp. 1631-1676.

 

Lieberson, Stanley. (1991). “Small N’s and Big Conclusions: An Examination of the Reasoning in Comparative Studies Based on a Small Number of Cases.” Social Forces. Vol. 70, No. 2, pp. 307-320.

 

 

Week 14: Qualitative and Quantitative Data Analysis

 

(Assignment #5 due)

 

Babbie, Earl. (2008). “Qualitative Data Analysis” and “Quantitative Data Analysis” in The Basics of Social Research. Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth.

 

Gray, Paul S., John B. Williamson, David A. Karp and John R. Dalphin. (2007). “Basic Statistical Analysis” and “Multivariate Analysis and Statististical Significance” in The Research Imagination: An Introduction to Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. New York: Cambridge University Press.

 

Weiss, Robert S. (1994). “Analysis of Data” and “Quantitative Coding of Qualitative Interview Material” in Learning from Strangers: The Art and Method of Qualitative Interview Studies. New York: Free Press.

 

 

Assignment #6 is due on the date of the final exam which will be announced by the Dean’s Office towards the end of the semester!