lecture notes january

lecture notes january - they don’t include everything ←...

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Poli 243  09/01/2012 07:54:00 Intro: What do we mean by ‘theory’? Relate cause and effect Probabilistic statement; social scientists- we make if than statements not laws  o Human behavior- imperfect predictions o Very complex- multiple theories, very big questions Composed of independent and dependent variables o Outcomes (dependent variables) are not constant, they vary i.e  war/peace- we’re interested in the change, the variation  The Qualities of a Theory Find theories that do all the following well: o Accuracy – which one gives you the right answer most of the time  o Parsimony or leverage- want a simple theory, we choose which parts  to talk about and which to leave out in causes o Generalizability- framing things in a way that allows you to talk about  other cases  Theories as representations of reality: Theories are models, they are stripped down pictures of reality, like maps, 
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Unformatted text preview: they don’t include everything ← Tasks for a Theory- what we’re going to use theories for • Description- understanding cause and effects in history • Prediction- if we understand case x that should shed some light on cause and effect in case y (i.e generalizability) • Prescription- give me policy options, help me influence the future; i.e we worry about causes of war because we want to prevent it • Provide normative goals- give us a picture of what that better world should look like ← Theories begin with assumptions… • Theories are built on assumptions • Assumptions shape the qualities of each theory • An assumption is something we assume to be true • We assume something to be tue, because we know it’s not always true 09/01/2012 07:54:00 ← 09/01/2012 07:54:00 ←...
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lecture notes january - they don’t include everything ←...

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