Political Science 230: Methods of Political Research

Faculty Member: Greg Marfleet
Class Description:
An introduction to research method, research design, and the analysis of political data. The course is intended to introduce students to the fundamentals of scientific inquiry as they are employed in the discipline. The course will consider the philosophy of scientific research generally, the philosophy of social science research, theory building and theory testing, the components of applied (quantitative and qualitative) research across the major sub-fields of political science, and basic methodological tools. Intended for majors only.

Watch/Download Full Video (MP4 Video 339.4MB Jul28 17): 38:12 min

Class Video

Chapter 1: Course Design Objectives (MP4 Video 16MB Jul28 17) (7:20 min)
Greg describes the different elements in his methods course, structured around a series of workshops, and the challenges of integrating all the different modules into a coherent whole for an audience with a diverse set of interests. This course focuses on an ongoing research project about the national elections, which Greg describes.

Chapter 2: Interactive Classrooms (MP4 Video 54.4MB Aug1 17) (3:10 min)
Greg reflects on the differences in his classroom practice between the lecture sections and the workshop, including strategies for making class more interactive both with technology and in spite of it.

Chapter 3: Partisanship (MP4 Video 15.4MB Jul31 17) (6:52 min)
The elections raise the potential problem of partisanship in the classroom. Greg explains how he deals with issues that might arise from personal political leanings through debates based on critical analysis.

Chapter 4: Asking Better Questions (MP4 Video 12.2MB Jul31 17) (5:18 min)
Greg talks about the importance of teaching students to formulate questions that frame issues in a way that is consistent with social science research, as opposed to punditry.

Chapter 5: Poster Session (MP4 Video 20.2MB Jul31 17) (6:30 min)
The poster session at the end of the term allows students to share their research publicly. Greg discusses how he stages the creation of the posters and the benefits that students gain from the experience.

Chapter 6: Learning from Assessment (MP4 Video 8.1MB Jul31 17) (3:24 min)
Greg discusses the results of recent departmental assessment and how it impacts the way he continues to revise his course, as well as the value of the scholarship of teaching and learning in general.

Chapter 7: Reflecting on Practice (MP4 Video 12.5MB Jul31 17) (4:51 min)
Greg reflects on his classroom strategies and how they have changed since arriving at Carleton. Finding the balance between lecture and discussion and creating active classes are areas for ongoing attention.