RESEARCH METHODS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE

RESEARCH METHODS IN SOCIAL SCIENCE

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Code
104904
ACADEMIC YEAR
2020/2021
CREDITS
6 credits during the 1st year of 11162 INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS (LM-52) GENOVA
SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINARY SECTOR
SECS-S/05
TEACHING LOCATION
GENOVA (INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS)
semester
2° Semester
Teaching materials

OVERVIEW

The teaching introduces students to the fundamental tools of statistical analysis for politics and international relations. During the lessons a wide use of statistical software will be made, giving the course a more operational rather than theoretical approach.

AIMS AND CONTENT

LEARNING OUTCOMES

The teaching provides the students with the basic notions of the statistical methods useful for the study of political science and international relations. The students will be able to produce statistical reports with data tables, graphs and more complex analyses such as multiple regression. The teaching has an application-oriented approach, and several hours will be devoted to the introduction to data analysis software such as Microsoft Excel and IBM SPSS".

AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES

  • Knowledge and understanding Students acquire adequate knowledge of the principles of measuring and statistically analysing political phenomena. Students are able to import data into statistical analysis software, produce tabular and graphical representations, summarize them using the main descriptive statistics and analyze the relationship between two or more variables.
  • Ability to apply knowledge and understanding Students are able to find the data necessary to understand the political phenomena and to replicate the indices studied during the course on new data or to build new ones, also in a historical perspective and international comparison.
  • Autonomy of judgement Students are able to assess the quality of data and the quality of the research reports available online.
  • Communication skills Students acquire the fundamental statistical vocabulary to communicate clearly and unambiguously with specialist and non-specialist interlocutors. In particular, they learn to interpret data tables and graphic representations typical of the economic, social and political sciences, especially when produced by official statistical bodies.
  • Learning skills Students, having had the opportunity to know in detail many official surveys, are able to assess the quality of the data they will use during their studies and professional career.

PREREQUISITES

None

Teaching methods

Face-to-face lectures. In case it would be impossible, for health reasons, to carry out the lessons in presence, they will be delivered remotely in streaming mode.

SYLLABUS/CONTENT

1. Introduction: statistics for politics and international relations

2. Categorical data analysis:

  • frequency tables
  • crosstabulations
  • recoding variables to fewer categories
  • graphs for categorical data
    • pie charts
    • bar/column charts
  • inference with categorical data
    • chi squared statistic
    • Phi/Cramer’s V

3. Continous data analysis

  • measures of central tendency
  • measures of dispersion
  • correlation
  • graphs for continuous data
    • histograms
    • line charts
    • scatterplots
    • boxplots
  • inference with continuous data
    • inferential tests for comparison of means
      • Parametric test
        • Student's t-test
        • One-way ANOVA and eta
      • Non-parametric test
        • Mann-Whitney U test
    • linear regression and Analysis of Variance (ANOVA)
    • Multiple regression with dummy variables
    • Logistic regression

4. Statistical analysis with SPSS and other statistical analysis software

RECOMMENDED READING/BIBLIOGRAPHY

Williams H. M. (2020). Statistics for Politics and International Relations Using IBM SPSS Statistics. Sage Publishing

TEACHERS AND EXAM BOARD

Ricevimento: Office hours for the A.A. 2020/21 Office hours are usually Wednesdays from 4.30 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. in the teacher's studio located on the 5th floor of the West Tower of the Albergo dei Poveri's teaching centre and, at the same time, on the teacher's Teams channel (code qlpo4sd). In case of closure of the structure for health reasons, office hours will be exclusively on the Teams channel of the teacher. The students of the Department of Economics can arrange a reception by appointment on Mondays from 3.00 p.m. to 4.00 p.m. at the open Space Statistics teacher's desk at the 2nd level of the Darsena.

Exam Board

ENRICO DI BELLA (President)

ENRICO IVALDI

LUCA GANDULLIA

LESSONS

Teaching methods

Face-to-face lectures. In case it would be impossible, for health reasons, to carry out the lessons in presence, they will be delivered remotely in streaming mode.

LESSONS START

2nd semester: 15/02/2021 – 14/05/2021

EXAMS

Exam description

Written exam (50% of final grade) and individual/small group project works (50% of final grade).

The written exam is focused on the theoretical part of the teaching, and it is structured with five multiple-choice quizzes and two open answer questions. The project works are reports of approx 20 pages with the following structure:

  1. Introduction: statement of the problem/topic 
  2. Data description
  3. Methods description
  4. Results of the analysis
  5. Discussion
  6. Conclusions/Final comments

A powerpoint presentation of max 10 slides should also be provided with the project work (i.e.: the powerpoint presentation IS NOT the report).

Assessment methods

The written exam assesses the knowledge acquired by the student on the statistical methods discussed during the lessons. The project work assesses the student's analytical skills to apply the statistical techniques discussed during teaching, and his/her capability of drawing conclusions from the results of the statistical analyses. Particularly important in the global assessment is the expositive clarity and the property of the technical language of the student.

Exam schedule

Date Time Location Type Notes
25/05/2021 15:00 GENOVA Scritto
14/06/2021 15:00 GENOVA Scritto
12/07/2021 15:00 GENOVA Scritto
13/09/2021 15:00 GENOVA Scritto