Political Science is rapidly becoming a discipline where advanced training and experience with multiple research methods is becoming de rigueur. All graduate students are required to take the two-course sequence of introductory courses, Research Design, and Introduction to Quantitative Methods, where they are exposed to important epistemological and research design issues, and a variety of formal, qualitative, and statistical methods. Students in all subfields are strongly encouraged to seek as many methods trainings as possible, and as described above, several fields have methods requirements beyond the introductory sequence for their majors. Students at Rutgers also may declare Research Methodology as one of their minor fields. To receive a first or second minor in methodology, the student must complete the following requirements:

Faculty

Summer Lindsey, (W&P, IR)

Lisa Miller, (American, Public Law, REP)

Jan Kubik, (Comparative)

Andrey Tomashevskiy, (IR)

Elena Gambino, (Theory, W&P& REP)

 

Curriculum

Pre-requisites:

16:790:600 Research Design

16:790:670 Multivariate Techniques

All students are required to take three additional methods courses, which must be more advanced than the prerequisites above.

The field of methodology is broadly construed, and the three courses may include courses in any methodological specialty, including but not limited to statistical methods, formal methods, experimental methods, qualitative and case study methods, and interpretive methods. Courses taken outside of Rutgers’ Political Science Department (in other RU departments or at other universities) may be counted toward the minor, subject to approval in writing by the Methodology field chair. In general, mere attendance at ICPSR or IQMR does not count as coursework toward the Methodology minor, although those workshops may be combined with a 3-credit independent study with a methods faculty member to be counted toward the minor.

Comprehensive exam

To complete a second minor in Methods, only the coursework is required. For a first minor, both the coursework and a comprehensive exam are required.

The comprehensive exam for a minor in Methodology requires that students write a methodological paper. In that paper, students should (1) identify a methodological debate within the literature (e.g. proper approach for analyzing time series data; proper approach for analyzing a text; proper approach for engaging in counterfactual analysis; proper approaches for avoiding framing effects; proper approaches for creating a sample; etc.), (2) choose a methodology and explain the reasons for choosing that methodological approach over other alternative approaches; and (3) utilize a cutting-edge methodology and discuss the resulting evidence.

The final paper that comprises the exam must be uploaded to the Graduate Program Canvas site on the same day that other qualifying exams have been scheduled. The deadline that exists for other comprehensive exams must be met.

The proposed focus of a student’s methods minor must be approved, in advance, by the Methods field chair. Students should not begin work on their papers unless they have the approval of the field chair. Once the proposal is approved, students are strongly encouraged to consult with relevant methods faculty about their paper and the approach they are taking.

The Methods field chair and two other faculty members named by the field chair will serve as the reading committee for the exam.

Important note: Students who wish to pursue a first minor in Methods are required to take a standard substantive subfield (American, Comparative, IR, Public Law, Race and Ethnic Politics, Theory, or Women & Politics) for their second minor.

 

Required Courses

16:79:600 Research Design in Political Science

A general introduction to research methods in political science, including research design, the philosophy of science, and qualitative methods. 

16:790:670 Multivariate Statistics

The primary focus of this class is multivariate regression. Several additional multivariate methods are covered more briefly, including factor analysis, causal modeling, analysis of variance, scaling, and various limited dependent variable methods.

Electives

16:790:671 Advanced Survey Research 

Sample design, questionnaire construction, interviewer training and evaluation, analysis of survey data, and preparation of proposals for potential users.

16:790:672 Research Seminar in Political Science Applications of Quantitative Methods

Intensive study and research application of selected method, including Maximum Likelihood Estimation.

16:790:673 Game Theory for Political Scientists

An introductory course in game theory for political science graduate students: This course can serve either as a first step to a more thorough study of the game-theoretic literature, or it can stand alone, providing an appreciation of this field to non-specialists.

16:790:674 Applied Formal Models in Political Science

This course is a wide-ranging survey of applied formal models in political science. Students will learn how to read, appreciate, and constructively engage in formal-theoretic arguments. Students will develop an understanding of significant "modeling dialogues" that are shaping our discipline and an awareness of the potential for intellectual gains from exchange across sub-fields. Possible topics include (but are not limited to) legislative organization, comparative electoral institutions, crisis bargaining, and the political economy of dictatorship. "Applications of Formal Models" complements 790:673 "Game Theory for Political Scientists." These two courses may be taken independently or in either order.

16:790:676, 677 Advanced Topics in Multivariate Statistics

These variable-topic courses focus on multivariate techniques beyond OLS regression. Topics include maximum likelihood estimation; dichotomous, ordinal, and nominal logistic regression; multilevel modeling; hazards models; latent variable structural equation modeling; and related techniques.