Books and Articles

There is one book - Van Evera, Steven. Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780801484575.

Articles will be added depending on the interests and projects of the class. Also, students may wish to obtain a copy of the following book as a guide for writing their thesis: Turabian, Kate. A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996. ISBN: 9780226816272.

Readings by Session



Introductory Meeting



Developing a Topic



Reviewing Past Theses A. We will Read Two Past Award-winning Theses, Selected by Relevance to Current Student Topics

B. Sharpening the Topic, Developing Theory

Note: For the next three weeks, we will be discussing methodological choices. During this time, you are expected to be ready to discuss the assigned readings. You should also be reading on your topics and developing a bibliography and knowledge of existing research.

Van Evera, Stephen. Chapter 1 in Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1997. ISBN: 9780801484575.

Almond, Gabriel, and Stephen Genco. “Clouds, Clocks, and the Study of Politics.” World Politics 29, no. 4 (1977).


Methodological Choices I - Quantitative vs. Qualitative Methods

Discussion of Causality, Measurement, Validity

Ragin, Charles. Chapters 1-4 in The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992. ISBN: 9780520058347.

Gurr, Ted. “A Causal Model of Civil Strife: A Comparative Analysis Using New Indices.” American Political Science Review 62 (1968): 1104-1124.

Laitin, David, and James Fearon. “Ethnicity, Insurgency, and Civil War.” American Political Science Review 97 (2003): 75-90.


Methodological Choices II - Case Studies and Small-N Comparisons

Van Evera, chapter 2.

Mill, J. S. “Of the Four Methods of Experimental Inquiry.” In A System of Logic. Edited by J. M. Robson. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1974, pp. 388-406. ISBN: 9780802018755.

George, Alexander, and Timothy McKeown. “Case Studies and Theory Development: The Method of Structured, Focused Comparison.” In Diplomacy: New Approaches in History, Theory, and Policy. Edited by Paul G. Lauren. New York, NY: Free Press, 1979, pp. 43-68. ISBN: 9780029180709.

Snyder, Jack. “Richness, Rigor, and Relevance in the Study of Soviet Foreign Policy.” International Security 9, no. 3 (Winter 1984-85): 89-108.

Petersen, Roger. “Mechanisms and Structures in Comparisons.” In Critical Comparisons in Politics and Culture. Edited by John Bowen, and Roger Petersen. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1999. ISBN: 9780521653794.


Meeting with Library Staff to Review Research Tactics and Strategies



Methodological Choices III - Rational Choice

Tsebelis, George. Chapters 2, 3, and 6 in Nested Games: Rational Choice in Comparative Politics. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992. ISBN: 9780520067325.


Literature Review



Class Presentations of Existing Research



Methodological Pitfalls

Collier, David, and James Mahoney. “Insights and Pitfalls: Selection Bias in Qualitative Research.” World Politics 49, no. 1 (1996): 56-91.

Adcock, Robert, and David Collier. “Measurement Validity: A Shared Standard for Qualitative and Quantitative Research.” American Political Science Review 95, no. 3 (2001): 529-546.

King, Gary, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba. Chapters 4-6 in Designing Social Inquiry. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1994. ISBN: 9780691034713.


Pick a Topic



Addressing Remaining Methodological Issues



Presentation of Prospectus



Presentation of Prospectus (cont.)


Course Info