The Science of Politics

3 credits


Political Science
College of Arts and Science

This course provides an introduction to the Science of Politics. We will consider a variety of research methods, including historical case study research, field research, quantitative analysis, survey research, experimental techniques, and more. Whatever the research method, one of the central objectives of the course is for students to come away with a clear understanding of how to evaluate causal relationships in the political world. The course is also chock-full of real world applications, with the goal of using actual science to empower you in three ways. First, you will appreciate that the root of science is skepticism and logic, allowing you to make freer choices and to become a better problem solver. Second, in this course you will become a practiced consumer of social science, giving you substantial power to understand, evaluate, and utilize scientific knowledge, whether you choose to work in politics, journalism, industry, government, or elsewhere. Third, the course will provide you with actual research explaining why politicians seek and win elections, why countries go to war, why we follow our parents’ political ideologies, why some countries are rich and others poor, and so much more of vital importance for our planet. To think scientifically, in short, is to develop understanding of humanity, seeing the invisible yet powerful forces that shape our lives. Graded on A-F basis only.