Political Science | Analyzing Politics
Y205 | 15345 | Morris McClean


This course is designed to be an introduction to the tools and skills
necessary to analyze politics. The skills discussed and practiced
would be valuable to anyone considering a major in political science
(or other social science disciplines), future profession in law,
business, policy research, or community advocacy to name. It is
equally designed for those students who may not have decided their
future directions but are interested in being critical consumers of
the news media, political advertising, and other sources of political
information.  We will be discussing such issues as what is the nature
of a hypothesis; how to understand causation; the role of comparison
in political analysis; how to understand, interpret, and collect
political information through polls and surveys, focus groups,
in-depth interviews, ethnographic observation, and experimental
research; and, how to interpret and present information presented in
charts, graphs, tables, and visual maps.  In order to learn about
sometimes abstract concepts and skills, we will focus on a variety of
“hot” policy issues and debates. Some of the topics will include: gun
control; health care reform in America; climate change; and, the
politics of immigration. The course will involve participation by
students in small and large-group discussions as well as activities
where we “practice what we preach.” Students are required to attend
all classes, do all assigned reading, complete ten weekly reading
questions, participate actively in class discussion and small group
activities, complete several mini-assignments and two short papers,
and complete one in-class mid-term exam and one take-home final exam.