Next meetings:

Wednesday, March 3, is a full online meeting at the usual time.

Things to worry about now:


Spring 2021 Syllabus

In this course students write individual research papers in which they present a question, review other scientific studies of the question, develop a research design, and test a hypothesis by making structured observations.

We complete these research papers in lots of little steps. To succeed in this course you need to:

  • Keep up with the smaller assignments earlier in the semester, as they are due. They may seem small, but they add up, and they are all components of the final paper.
  • Meet with me regularly to work through your ideas and to check on your progress.

The required textbook is:
Baglione, Lisa A. Writing a research paper in political science: A practical guide to inquiry, structure, and methods. CQ Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781506367422. You can get it directly from the campus bookstore, from Amazon, and probably lots of other places too.

The meeting times for the class are Wednesdays from 9:30 to 12:00. There will be a mix of four types of class meetings:

  • Some meetings will be full online meetings. These meetings will be only online, at the scheduled class time. Use the videoconference link I will share via email and calendar invitation. We will take a break partway through each class meeting. All of the full meetings through mid-March will be online-only.
  • Starting in mid-March, if the campus is open for in-person meetings, some meetings will be full hybrid meetings. These meetings will be held on campus, and students may attend either in-person or online, per their preference. They will be held at the scheduled class time. All students should sign on to the videoconference link I will share via email and calendar invitation, whether they are participating remotely or in-person. Meetings may be outdoors or in the assigned classroom.
  • Some meetings will be small groups. I will assign students to groups of about 4 students per group, and meet with groups separately. Group meetings will be about 30 minutes. I am available to meet with groups in-person, although groups may decide to have their meetings with me fully online if they prefer. (I will try to group students together based on their preference for meeting in-person or online.) Groups will have the option of meeting with me during the regularly-scheduled class time or during some other time that works for them. I will rearrange groups several times during the semester.
  • Some meetings will be one-on-one meetings. During weeks when the class session is replaced with one-on-one meetings, everyone in the class must meet with me individually at least once. For those meetings you may use my appointment calendar (cal.chadrector.net) to reserve a time. These one-on-one meetings will usually be about 30 minutes long, and for each meeting I will assign a short paragraph for students to write before the meeting.

In addition to the required one-on-one meetings, I am also happy to meet with students at other times as well, at their convenience. I have lots of times to meet with students in the class, individually and in groups. These are all listed on my calendar, cal.chadrector.net. You can reserve a time directly on my calendar to meet with me.


Schedule of class meetings

January 20  –  Overview and discussion
Full online meeting
Reading: How politics makes us stupid

Types of analysis assignment due January 26

January 27  –  Reading journal articles
Full online meeting

February 3  –  Reading journal articles
Small group meetings
Reading: Have chapters 1 and 2 from the Baglione book read before the meeting

Topic paragraph due February 8

February 10  –  Finding journal articles
Full online meeting

February 17  –  Understanding journal articles
One-on-one meetings (revision of topic paragraph)

Article summary #1 due February 22

February 24  –  Using journal articles
One-on-one meetings (outline of article summary #2)

Article summary #2 due March 1

March 3  –  Paper organization
Full online meeting

Article summary #3 due March 8

March 10  –  Literature review
Small group meetings

March 17  –  Literature review
One-on-one meetings (outline of literature review)

Literature review due March 22

March 24  –  Research design
Full hybrid meeting

Research design due March 30

March 31  –  Observation
One-on-one meetings (outline of single observation)

Single observation due April 5

April 7  – Draft preparation
One-on-one meetings (outline of draft)

Draft due April 13

April 14 – Draft discussion
Full hybrid meeting

Most peer reviews due sometime in the next week or so

April 28 – Presentations
Full hybrid meeting

May 5
One-on-one meetings (revision memo)

Term paper due May 7