The purpose of this exercise is to critically examine and evaluate empirical research in political science, recognizing the possibility for multiple results, and draw independent conclusions.
Please read the following instructions carefully, and make sure you understand them, before you begin on the exercise.
- This assignment is due 9/20/2017, at the beginning of the class. Make sure your computer and printer are in working conditions.
- Review the policies enunciated in the syllabus, and especially the instructions regarding the assignments and my expectations on written works. For those that seek to benefit from the help of the Writing Center, start your work earlier.
- Your paper should be typed, double-spaced for text, with all sources documented, and all tables or diagrams clearly labeled and identified throughout the text. The suggested length is five pages.
- Grading criteria: Admittedly grading in Political Science can seldom be absolutely objective. But I will grade your assignments roughly according to the following criteria. You will receive a letter grade, a score, and comments on your paper.
- Substance (50%): satisfactory answers to all questions asked, evidence of command of literature, additional research (if any), and ability to summarize, categorize, compare, contrast, and draw meaningful conclusions.
- Presentation effectiveness (30%): good organization of the paper, logical coherence, creativity, technical precision, statistical and/or graphical aids.
- Writing (20%): clarity, economy, and style. Read the following articles (all at Cabell Library via electronic resources):
- 1. Forum on Departmental Rankings: Much Ado About Something? PS: Political Science and Politics XXIX(2)(June 1996): 141-167
- Arthur H. Miller, Charles Tien, and Andrew Peeler, “Department Rankings: An Alternative Approach,” PS: Political Science & Politics XXIX(4)(December 1996): 704- 717
- Michael J. Ballard and Neil J. Mitchell, “The Good, the Better, and the Best in Political Science,” PS: Political Science & Politics XXXI(4)(December 1998): 826-835
Write a paper to answer the following questions. Be sure you explain how you draw your inference from these studies and provide evidence to support the inference. Construct a table to summarize the most important information.
- What is the research question? Why is that important?
- How do the researchers study the phenomena that interest them?
- What are the competing hypotheses (models) for answering the question?
- What are the similarities and differences in concepts or variables?
- What are the similarities and differences in the sources?
- Which ranking is the best or most plausible? Why? Do you have an alternative – or better – ranking?