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PS102Lecture3 - PS102 PS102 Lecture3 WhatDoYou WhatDoYou...

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PS 102 PS 102 Introduction to Political Inquiry Introduction to Political Inquiry Lecture 3 Lecture 3
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What Do You What Do You Want to Study? Want to Study? First step is a research question Why do some people vote? Why do some military crises escalate to war? Why to some democratic governments collapse? NOT just a topic Voting, military conflict, democratic government What is the difference? Research topic defines VARIATION on a DEPENDENT  VARIABLE that will be EXPLAINED.
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Common Problems with Common Problems with Research Questions Research Questions Focus on discrete facts Why did World War I happen? Tends to undermine generalization & focus on relationships between variables Reframe discrete event as part of broader category Focus on future events Will the US reform its healthcare system? No empirical referent for study Reframe future event as part of a class of events with past cases Focus on normative questions Is Democracy the best form of government? Cannot be answered empirically Reframe “best” into a descriptive term Do elected governments enact policies that are closer to the preferences of their  citizens than non-elected governments?
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Specifying an Explanation Specifying an Explanation A VARIABLE is a concept with variation.  A DEPENDENT variable is thought to depend upon or be caused by  variation in another variable.
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