POL 250 - Fall 2013

General Information

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Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. Butler Hall, Room G132



I am available to meet with students Tuesdays and Fridays, with no appointment necessary, in my office in Ireton Hall G112, between 9:45 and 11:45. To meet with me at other times, please
make an appointment by choosing one of the open slots on this calendar. (You must be logged in to gmail or Marymount email. Scroll to the right to see future weeks.) All meetings are in my office,  Ireton G108.

The required textbook is available for purchase at the bookstore or any online retailer. 
Janet Buttolph Johnson, H. T. Reynolds, and Jason D. Mycoff. 2011. Political Science Research Methods, 7th Edition. CQ Press. ISBN: 978-1608716890.


Each assignment will receive a letter grade. Course grades will be based on a weighted average of the following. Specific assignments and grading criteria will be discussed in class and posted online September 4. I strongly urge to meet with me prior to due dates to discuss approaches to these assignments. 
  • Two short assignments. 5% each. Due September 25 and October 9. 
  • Topic paragraph. 5%. Due September 18. One paragraph describing a question.
  • Topic overview. 5%. Due October 2. At least 3 pages summarizing the history and background of the paper topic.
  • Book review. 5%. Due October 18. At least 3 pages summarizing and analyzing a scholarly book on the topic of the term paper. 
  • Bibliographic outline. 10%. Due October 28 25. Paragraph-long summaries and highlights of at least 10 sources related to the research topic, including at least 2 scholarly books and 3 scholarly articles. 
  • Term paper draft. 20%. Due November 11 8. At least 4000 words, using at least 10 sources. 
  • Reviews. 5% each. Due November 12 19 and November 19 25. Each review is a critique of another student’s draft, as assigned, with specific suggestions for improvements. Up to two additional reviews may be turned in for up to 3% each, by December 6.
  • Presentation. 5%. December 11 between 9 and 11:30 a.m. Formal presentation of paper and findings. 
  • Term paper. 25%. Due December 16. At least 4000 words, using at least 10 sources. 
  • Class participation. 5%. Students will come to class prepared to discuss the readings and draw connections between readings and contemporary issues. 
There are two ungraded but mandatory course requirements:
  • One-on-one meetings. Each student must meet with me in my office at least twice during the semester to discuss the research project. I will provide ample opportunity for students to set times for these meetings. I will post specifics about how to come to the meetings prepared. Students who come unprepared will need to meet with me again. Failure to complete either meeting will result in automatic failure of the course.
  • Class attendance. Any student who misses 4 or more class sessions will automatically fail the course. Arriving more than 20 minutes late constitutes an absence. 
Papers will be marked down one point for each day (or fraction of a day) late. Any paper may be rewritten for partial credit, but the grade after revision cannot exceed a B-. 

Friday, September 27, 2013, is the last day to withdraw from a class without academic record.

Friday, November 1, 2013, is the last day to withdraw from a class with a grade of W.

I may, at my discretion, check any written assignments for plagiarism at any time during or after the semester, using electronic or other means. Students found violating the Marymount principles of Academic Integrity will fail the course and be formally charged through the University’s Academic Integrity process. By accepting this syllabus and enrolling in the course, students acknowledge that they have reviewed the University’s standards of academic integrity.
Course Schedule and Readings

Class meets every Wednesday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. in Butler Hall, Room G132. Reading assignments should be completed before the class session under which they are listed. Chapters refers to chapters in the textbook Political Science Research Methods, 7th Edition. Students must bring the book to class every day. Students who have laptop or tablet computers should bring them to class whenever possible. 

August 28
Project overview, discussion of scope, and writing review

September 4 (class ends at 11:00 a.m. today)
The systematic study of politics
Read chapters 1 and 2

September 11
Project discussion
Read chapter 3

September 18 (class ends at noon for Constitution Day lunch)
Analysis and the role of theory
Read chapter 4
Topic paragraph due

September 25
Discussion of deduction and reason
Assignment #1 due

October 2 - Meet in library classroom
The nature of observation
Read chapter 5
Topic overview due

October 9
Inferring cause
Read chapter 6
Assignment #2 due

Mandatory one-on-one meetings scheduled between October 10 and 15

October 16
Refining arguments

Book review due October 18

October 23
Understanding claims about large groups of observations
Read chapter 7

Bibliographic outline due October 28 25

October 30
Understanding claims about small groups of observations
Read chapter 8

November 6
Singular events
Read chapter 9

Draft due November 11 8

Review #1 due November 12

November 13
Draft evaluations and review

Review #2 due November 19

November 20
Draft evaluations and review

Mandatory one-on-one meetings scheduled between December 2 and 6

December 4
Discussion of presentation
Read chapter 15

Deadline for extra credit reviews December 6

December 11, 9:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Final Paper due December 15