Quantitative Methodology for Political Science - PO8100

Location Term Level Credits (ECTS) Current Convenor 2019-20
(version 2)
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7 20 (10) DR R De Vries


PO825 (Philosophy and Methodology of Politics and International Relations)





This course is designed for graduate students in Political Science and will serve as an introduction to quantitative methods for social science research. Given that the majority of the highest level research in Political Science is conducted in the language of quantitative methodology, students will learn the use of quantitative research methods as a tool to further their research and participation in debates of the social sciences. Students can further expect to be introduced to not only the means for conducting rigorous, empirical, and quantitative research in social science fields but also how this methodology adheres to the scientific accumulation of knowledge about these phenomena. The course is intended to develop core competencies in quantitative research. These competencies include methodological literacy (the ability to read, understand, and critically assess quantitative research); statistical abilities (the ability to determine, apply, and use the appropriate statistical techniques to inform and/or support an argument as well as understand the limitations of statistical techniques); and research skills (the ability to use and present quantitative methodology to address a research question).


This module appears in:

Contact hours

11 two-hour lecture/seminars

Method of assessment

100% coursework (2500-3000 word essay (50%), weekly assignments (40%), seminar and lecture partcipation (10%)

Indicative reading

Durkheim, Emile. 1982 (English translation). The Rules of Sociological Method. New York, NY: The Free Press.
Kennedy, Peter. 1998. A Guide to Econometrics. 4th edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Morton, Rebecca. 1999. Methods and Models: A Guide to the Empirical Analysis of Formal Models in Political Science. Cambridge University Press.
Wonnacott, Thomas H. and Ronald J. Wonnacott. 1981. Regression: A Second Course in Statistics. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The core competencies of students successfully completing this course will include:

1.Demonstrate Statistical Literacy:
Read, understand, and critically assess quantitative research in political science(including Comparative Behaviour, Conflict, and International Relations).
Assess research designs that incorporate quantitative methodologies, conceptualizations, and operationalizations common to political science.
Discern appropriateness of applied statistical techniques to the level and type of data used in political science.
Develop an understanding of strengths and weaknesses of the most common as well as prevailing types of models and statistical methods specific to political science.
Appraise the use of survey data, cross-national and cross-regional data, and conflict indicators used broadly in the comparative behaviour and international conflict fields.

2. Demonstrate Statistical Abilities:
To determine and apply statistical techniques appropriate to the data, question, and theory under investigation.
Use statistical techniques to test an argument/hypothesis of a political phenomenon.
To understand the limitations of statistical techniques for research in political science.
Generate descriptive and inferential statistics using statistical software.
Interpret and analyze computer generated statistical output.

3. Demonstrate Research Skills:
Rigorously employ quantitative methodology to address research questions in political science.
Present quantitative research in a clear, informative, and effective manner.
Evaluate other disciplinary quantitative research critically.

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