PSC2101 Study Guide (Autosaved)

PSC2101 Study Guide (Autosaved) - Political Science 2101...

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Political Science 2101 Scope and Methods in Political Science First Examination Study Guide Identify the components of scientific knowledge o Empirical- based on observation o General-more interest in broad statements o Explanatory-need to be able to explain why o Tentative- new materials arise every week o Book also mentions: Transmissible and cumulative Verifiable and falsifiable Distinguish between the dependent variable and independent variables in scientific studies of politics and public policy o dependent variables are an observable characteristics of phenomena that we would like to describe and explain o Independent variables are an observable characteristics hypothesized to explain, influence, or cause changes in dependent variables o It is frequently desirable to compare the effect of each independent variable on the dependent variable. This is done by “controlling for” or holding constant one of the independent variables so that the effect of the other may be observed. o Complications: Chains of causality: a variable may affect another variable Spurious associations: when a 3rd variable that affects the situation (both variables) State different types of hypotheses o A hypothesis indicates how an independent variable is thought to affect, influence, or alter a dependent variable. o Hypotheses are affirmative statements that an independent variable and a dependent variable are associated with one another o Null hypothesis— statement that there is no relationship between the independent variable and the dependent variable o Directional hypothesis- be able to specify the expected relationship between the two or more variables o Characteristics of a good hypothesis: It is an empirical statement It is stated as a generality It is plausible It is specific It is stated in a manner that corresponds to the way in which the researcher intends to test it It is testable o Empirical statement: an educated guess about relationships that exist in the real world, not statements about what ought to be true or about what a researcher believes should be the case. Normative, non empirical statement, that cannot be tested= “democracy is the best form of government.” Empirical statement= “ Democracy is more likely to be found in countries with high literacy than in countries with low literacy.”
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Identify the units of analysis in scientific studies of politics and public policy o Any attribute, attitude, behavior, or event that varies in the empirical world applies to a particular unit of analysis o The “level of political actor the study plans to examine” o When it comes to marijuana laws, the units of analysis are considered to be the states o Units of analysis are individuals or aggregations of individuals to whom our variables and hypotheses apply o Examples: “Members of the House who belong to the same party as the president are more likely to vote for legislation desired by the president than are
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