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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Politics

Undergraduate Course: Introduction to Political Data Analysis (PLIT08009)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 8 (Year 2 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis Year 2 course will introduce students to political data analysis using domestic and international data. The course will cover core substantive topics in Politics and international relations, typically exploring one major research question from Politics and one major research question from IR. It will explore how to access relevant data and assess the appropriateness of data. It will provide key skills in quantitative data analysis, including descriptive statistics, cross-tab/contingency tables, measures of association, correlation and regression. These techniques will be used to answer different aspects of the same research question. The course will show how using different types of data and different techniques provide different ways to answer the types of questions typically posed by empirical Politics and IR scholars. Throughout, both the strengths and weaknesses of different approaches will be addressed, as will issues such as validity, reliability and missing data. Lectures will be accompanied by weekly tutorials delivered in a computer lab.
Course description Week 1
Lecture: Understanding data and data quality (AH): Types of data, assessment data quality (validity and reliability), operationalisation, levels of measurement. Hour 2 will include a visit from a representative of the data library to discuss finding your own data
Tutorial: Practice finding data.

Week 2
Research Question: How do we define and measure democracy?
Lecture: Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Visualisation I (UO): Computing descriptive statistics (max, min, mean, median, range, standard deviation), histograms,
Tutorial: Introduction to SPSS, computing summary statistics and plotting histograms using SPSS.

Week 3
Research Question: Are people living in more democratic countries happier?
Lecture: Exploratory Data Analysis and Data Visualisation II (UO): Boxplots, bar-charts, scatterplot, matrix scatterplot
Tutorial: Applications using the SPSS chart builder

Week 4
Lecture: The Logic of statistical inference (UO): Populations and samples, types of hypotheses, type I and type II errors, central limit theorem, law of large numbers
Tutorial: Data management, including recoding variables and computing new variables

Week 5
No Lecture. Innovative Learning Week

Week 6
Research Question: Does democracy cause peace?
Lecture: Comparing two means (UO): T-tests and ANOVA
Tutorial: Running t-tests and ANOVA in SPSS and interpretation of the results.

Week 7
Research Question: What are the determinants of voter turnout?
Lecture: Measures of association for ordinal and nominal data (AH): Chi square and various PRE measures
Tutorial: Chi-square tests in SPSS

Week 8
Research Question: What determines the popularity of government and their leaders?
Lecture: Correlation and bivariate regression (AH)
Tutorial: Correlation and bivariate regression in SPSS

Week 9
Research Question: Do attitudes to risk affect referendum preferences for constitutional change?
Lecture: Multivariate regression (AH)
Tutorial: Multivariate regression in SPSS

Week 10
Research Question: Which theory of voting explains individual vote choice?
Stats Material: Logistic regression (UO): Please note: You are NOT required to use logistic regression in your research paper. You should, however, expect to be evaluated on it in your timed assignment.
Tutorial: Logistic regression in SPSS

Week 11
Lecture: Extensions of tests learned, preparation for timed assignment
Tutorial: preparation for timed assignment
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students on "with QM" degree programmes should not select this course in year 2
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  185
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 10, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 9, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 177 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) A mix of
-One short assignment (15%)
-Essay involving application of data analysis (45%)
-Timed assignment (40%)

Feedback Assignment 1 is designed in part to evaluate whether students can find data and summarise it visually but it is also intended as a stepping stone to the research paper. The feedback they receive in this assignment will help them develop their essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. formulate a research question and hypotheses, identify relevant concepts and variables
  2. access, and assess the quality of, data typically used in Politics and International Relations
  3. apply essential quantitative data analysis skills linked to core topics of Politics and IR
  4. discuss the results of their data analysis as well as present quantitative findings in text, tables and graphs or charts
  5. analyse data using NESSTAR, as well as input and analyse data using SPSS
Reading List
* AF Sections 1.1 ¿ 1.5

Kellstedt, Paul, and Guy Whitten. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge University Press, 2013. (Chapters 1-5)

Johnson, Janet Buttolph, and H. T. Reynolds. Political Science Research Methods. CQ Press, 2012. Chapters (1-5)

* AF Sections 1.6 ¿ 1.7, 4.4, 3.1-3.11

* Munck, Gerardo L., and Jay Verkuilen. "Conceptualizing and measuring democracy Evaluating alternative indices." Comparative political studies 35.1 (2002): 5-34.

* Vanhanen, Tatu. "A new dataset for measuring democracy, 1810-1998." Journal of Peace Research 37.2 (2000): 251-265.

Elkins, Zachary. "Gradations of democracy? Empirical tests of alternative conceptualizations." American Journal of Political Science (2000): 293-300.

Coppedge, Michael, et al. "Conceptualizing and measuring democracy: A new approach." Perspectives on Politics 9.02 (2011): 247-267.

Bollen, Kenneth A., and Pamela Paxton. "Subjective measures of liberal democracy." Comparative Political Studies 33.1 (2000): 58-86.

Bühlmann, Marc, et al. "The democracy barometer: a new instrument to measure the quality of democracy and its potential for comparative research." European Political Science 11.4 (2012): 519-536.

Treier, Shawn, and Simon Jackman. "Democracy as a latent variable." American Journal of Political Science 52.1 (2008): 201-217.

* AF Sections 4 .1 ¿ 4.3, 4.5, 4.6, 4.8.1 - 4.8.4

* Frey, Bruno S., and Alois Stutzer. "Happiness prospers in democracy." Journal of Happiness Studies 1.1 (2000): 79-102.

* Inglehart, Ronald. "Democracy and happiness: what causes what?" in: Happiness, economics and politics: Towards a multi-disciplinary approach (2009)

Rode, M., Knoll, B. & Pitlik, H. (2013). ¿Economic freedom, democracy, and life satisfaction¿ in: Gwartney, J.D., Lawson, R. & Hall, J. Economic Freedom of the World: 2013 Annual Report. Economic Freedom Network, Vancouver BC

Dorn, David, et al. "Is it culture or democracy? The impact of democracy and culture on happiness." Social Indicators Research 82.3 (2007): 505-526.

Dorn, David, et al. "Direct democracy and life satisfaction revisited: new evidence for Switzerland." Journal of Happiness Studies 9.2 (2008): 227-255.

Radcliff, Benjamin. "Politics, markets, and life satisfaction: The political economy of human happiness." American Political Science Review (2001): 939-952.

Bjørnskov, Christian, Axel Dreher, and Justina AV Fischer. "Cross-country determinants of life satisfaction: Exploring different determinants across groups in society." Social Choice and Welfare 30.1 (2008): 119-173.

* AF Sections 2.1 ¿ 2.6

* Kellstedt, Paul, and Guy Whitten. The Fundamentals of Political Science Research. Cambridge University Press, 2013. (Chapter 6)

* AF Sections 9.1 ¿ 9.5, 11.1 - 11.2, 11.6.1 ¿ 11.6.4, 11.7.1, 11.9 - 11.10

* Ray, James Lee. "Does democracy cause peace?" Annual Review of Political Science 1.1 (1998): 27-46.

* Rosato, Sebastian. "The flawed logic of democratic peace theory." American Political Science Review 97.04 (2003): 585-602.

Owen, John M. "How liberalism produces democratic peace." International security (1994): 87-125

De Mesquita, Bruce Bueno, et al. "An institutional explanation of the democratic peace." American Political Science Review (1999): 791-807.

Oneal, John R., et al. "The liberal peace: Interdependence, democracy, and international conflict, 1950-85." Journal of Peace Research 33.1 (1996): 11-28.

Oneal, John R., Bruce Russett, and Michael L. Berbaum. "Causes of peace: Democracy, interdependence, and international organizations, 1885¿1992." International Studies Quarterly 47.3 (2003): 371-393.

Gartzke, Erik. "Kant we all just get along? Opportunity, willingness, and the origins of the democratic peace." American Journal of Political Science (1998): 1-27.

Gartzke, Erik. "Preferences and the democratic peace." International Studies Quarterly 44.2 (2000): 191-212.

Kinsella, David. "No rest for the democratic peace." American Political Science Review 99.03 (2005): 453-457.

Gibler, Douglas M. "Bordering on peace: Democracy, territorial issues, and conflict." International Studies Quarterly 51.3 (2007): 509-532.

* AF 18.1 ¿ 18.5

*André Blais (2006) ¿What affects voter turnout?¿ Annual Review of Political Science 9: 111-25

* Stephen Earl Bennett and David Resnick (1990) ¿The Implications of Nonvoting for Democracy in the United States¿ American Journal of Political Science 34(3): 771-802

Benny Geys (2006) ¿Explaining voter turnout: A review of aggregate-level research¿ Electoral Studies 25(4): 637-63

T Kostadinova and TJ Power (2007) ¿Does democratization depress participation? Voter turnout in the Latin American and Eastern European transitional democracies¿ Political Research Quarterly 60(3): 363-77

K Smets and C Van Ham (2013) ¿The embarrassment of riches? A meta-analysis of individual level research on voter turnout¿ Electoral Studies 32(2): 344-59

Ailsa Henderson and Nicola McEwen (2010) ¿A comparative analysis of voter turnout in regional elections¿ Electoral Studies 2993): 405-16

Ailsa Henderson and Nicola McEwen (2014) ¿Regions as Primary Political Communities: A Multilevel Comparative Analysis of Turnout in Regional Elections¿ Publius early online

V Larcinese (2007) ¿Does political knowledge increase turnout? Evidence from the 1997 British general election¿ Public Choice 131: 387-411

Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher (2005) ¿Not all Second Order Contests are the Same: Turnout and Party Choice at the concurrent 2004 Local and European Parliament Elections in England¿ British Journal of Politics and International Relations 7(4): 584-97

* AF 7.1 ¿ 7.4, 8.1 ¿ 8.4

* Hanspeter Kriesi (2012) ¿Personalization of national election campaigns¿ Party Politics 18(6) 825-44

* Ian McAllister (2003) ¿Prime ministers, opposition leaders and government popularity in Australia¿ Australian Journal of Political Science 38: 259-77

Christopher Carman, Robert Johns and James Mitchell (2013) More Scottish than British: the 2011 Scottish Parliament Election. Palgrave: Chapter 3 ¿Parties and Leaders¿

H Norpoth (1987) ¿Guns and butter and government popularity in Britain. American Political Science review 8193): 949-59

DJ Lanoue, B Headrick (1994) ¿Prime Ministers, parties and the public: the dynamics of government popularity in Great Britain¿. Public Opinion Quarterly 58(2): 191-209
JT Andrews RW Jackman ¿If winning isn¿t everything, why do they keep score? Consequences of electoral performance for party leaders¿ British Journal of Political Science 38(4): 657-75

F Carlsen (2000) ¿Unemployment, inflation and government popularity: are there partisan effects?¿ Electoral Studies 19(2/3): 141-50 [time series]


* AF 8.5 ¿ 8.12

*Ailsa Henderson, Liam Delaney and Robert Liñeira (2014) Risk and Constitutional Attitudes

* Jonathan Kelley, MDR Evans, Malcolm Mearns and Bruce Headey (2002) ¿Public Opinion on Britain, A Directly Elected President and an Australian Republic¿ in John Warhurst and Malcolm Mackerras EDS, Constitutional Politics: The Republic Referendum and the Future: 113-131 ALSO READ CHAPTER 9 TECHNICAL APPENDIX PP243-252

House of Commons Library Demographic differences and voting patterns in Scotland¿s independence referendum second reading: House of Commons Library blog

Richard Breen (2001) ¿Social mobility and constitutional and political preferences in Northern Ireland¿ British Journal of Sociology 52(4): 621-45

Joseph Jupille and David Leblang (2007) ¿Voting for Change: Calculation, Community and Euro Referendums¿ International Organisation 61(4): 763-82

Samantha Laycock (2013) ¿Is referendum voting distinctive? Evidence from three UK cases¿ Electoral Studies 32(2): 236-252

Richard Nadeau, Pierre Martin and André Blais (1999) ¿Attitudes toward Risk taking and individual choice in the Quebec referendum on Sovereignty¿ British Journal of Political Science 29: 523-39

Harold D. Clarke, Allan Kornberg and Marianne C. Stewart (2004) ¿Referendum Voting as Political Choice¿ British Journal of Political Science 34: 345-355

Charles Pattie, David Denver, James Mitchell and Hugh Bochel (1999) Partisanship, national identity and constitutional preference: an exploration of voting in the Scottish devolution referendum of 1997¿ Electoral Studies 18(3): 305-22

David Denver, James Mitchell, Charles Pattie and Hugh Bochel (2000) Scotland Decides; The Devolution Issue and the 1997 Referendum. London: Frank Cass.
* AF 19.1 ¿ 19.9

* James N. Druckman and Arthur Lupia (2000) ¿Preference Formation¿ Annual Review of Political Science 3: 1-24 [theory] OR *Larry M. Bartels The Study of Electoral Behavior [for shorter version see Bartels 2010 in Jan E. Leighley, Ed, The Oxford Handbook of American Elections and Political Behavior. Oxford University Press]

* Paul Whiteley, Harold D. Clarke, David Sanders and Marianne C. Stewart (2013) Affluence, Austerity and Electoral change in Britain, chapter 5 Making political choices 2010

Milton Lodge, Patrick Stroh and John Wahlke (1990) Black box Models of Candidate Evaluation Political Behavior 12(1)

KM Quinn, AD Martin and AB Whitford (1999) Voter choice in multi-party democracies: a test of competing theories and models American Journal of Political Science 43(4): 1231-47

Éric Bélanger and Bonnie Meguid (2008) ¿Issue salience, issue ownership and issue-based vote choice¿ Electoral Studies 477-91

Ian Budge Ivor Crewe and D Farlie (2010) Party identification and beyond: representations of voting and party competition (pp33-63 on Party identification theory or pp285-315 on spatial theory of elections)

G Evans (2000) The continued significance of class voting¿ Annual review of political science 3(1): 401-417

Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Ugur Ozdemir
Tel: (0131 6)50 3990
Course secretaryMr Euan Morse
Tel: 0131 (6)51 1137
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