The home page for Political Science 328 is http://fhss.byu.edu/polsci/Goodliffe/328/. Check the home page often for announcements, corrections, instructions for assignments, syllabus, etc. You should also check your email regularly.
I will hold office hours on Mondays and Wednesdays 11 a.m. to 12 noon. I am also available at most other times if you make arrangements with me. I encourage you to come by to talk about assignments in the class, suggestions for improving the class, politics and current events, the perils of student life, or for any other reason.
This course explores the fundamental concepts of research design and empirical analysis, with a heavy emphasis on econometrics.
This course is designed to help you
The course will be run primarily as a lecture. However, I actively encourage questions, interruptions, cries for help, protests of disbelief, etc. You will never be penalized for participatingeven when this takes the form of vague complaints like, "I've got no clue why we are doing this stuff!" I urgeindeed, I expectyou to take advantage of the chance to talk with me during office hours.
PlSc 200 is a prerequisite for this course. PlSc 200 teaches basic statistical concepts, as well as writing and research techniques. This course builds on those concepts and assumes you know those techniques. Please see me if you have not had the appropriate prerequisite.
A Chinese proverb (supposedly) says, "I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand." This philosophy drives the requirements of the class.
Weekly Assignments  35% 
Midterm Exam  15% 
Final Exam  25% 
Research Project  25% 
All assignments are due at the beginning of class on the day designated in the course schedule. If you cannot make it to class, please leave the assignment with the department secretaries (in the Political Science office745 SWKT) before class begins. Alternatively, you may email me the assignment. I will not accept late assignments. The primary reason for no late assignments is so that we can discuss the assignment in class immediately after it is turned in. If you anticipate a problem with submitting an assignment when it is due, speak to me before the assignment is due so that we can try to work out an alternative arrangement.
To understand statistics, you must use statistics. To facilitate understanding, there will be weekly assignments that may include any or all of the following:
You may work together on these assignments (in groups of two or at most three), but you must write up your answers separately. I give much more detailed instructions on how to report your work together in the Academic Honesty section below. Generally, if you use other persons' work, or make changes to your own work without inquiring or understanding what you did incorrectly, then you are trying to get a grade using someone else's knowledge. Giving or receiving answers in this manner is not permitted in this course. If you do not learn how to analyze or solve problems on your own, you will have difficulty on the exams and research project. Generally, weekly assignments will be distributed on Fridays at the end of class.
There is a midterm and final exam. These are both takehome exams that you will have one week to finish. They will require you to solve problems similar to those in the weekly assignments. You are not allowed to consult with anyone on these takehome exams (except the instructor). The final exam will cover material for the whole semester. The final exams may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. The exams will be discarded at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
Students will write and present a paper on a topic of their choosing. The project will allow you the opportunity to apply the skills that we will develop in this class to actual data and problems. You may pursue any topic of your choice, subject to instructor approval. (Of course, one requirement is that you have the necessary data.) In your project, you will test a theory that uses a continuous dependent variable (roughly), and at least two independent variables. There are a number of deadlines that must be met, noted on the course schedule.
I strongly recommend that you consult with me and the teaching assistant through all phases of your research. I may be able to help you select a feasible topic, find data, or comment on your statistical model.
Proposal  5% 
Outline  10% 
Preliminary Analysis  15% 
Paper  70% 
Turn in a (no longer than) onepage proposal outlining the research question you wish to address, and how you plan to address it. Discuss why the research question is interesting, and possible data sources.
Turn in a (no longer than) twopage outline of your paper sketching out the argument you plan to make and/or hypotheses you will test, and how you will do it. Include a list of sources whose work you build on. Also list where you have obtained your data.
Turn in a (no longer than) fourpage paper that gives a more detailed outline of your paper. This should also include a detailed description of your statistical model (including what variables you use) and some relevant descriptive statistics for your data.
The paper's technical level should be geared toward a generic public servantyou will have to explain what your statistical results mean. In grading the paper, I will consider how well you have used material from the course, how well you have used statistical analysis to test your hypotheses, if the analysis is actually correct (numerical accuracy and correct interpretation), how well you use charts and graphs, logic and organization of the paper, and the usual grammatical and spelling concerns. The papers may be picked up in the Political Science office (745 SWKT) after they are graded. The papers will be discarded at the end of the Summer 2005 term.
The course is graded on a modified curve, using statistical principles that will be explained in the course.
I include the following information from the BYU 20042005 Undergraduate Catalog, which guides how I grade and determine workload:
A  Excellent 
B  Good 
C  Satisfactory 
D  Minimum passing 
E  Unacceptable 
Putting these statements together, the university expects an "average student" to work "much more" than 12 hours a week to receive an 'A' (= "excellence") in a 4 credithour course. This is my expectation as well.
This workload has been affirmed by President Bateman in his devotional addresses. On 7 September 1999, he stated, "It takes approximately three hours of study outside class for every hour in the classroom. If you take 15 hours of credit, you should allocate upward of 45 hours for study per week." On 19 September 2000, he advised, "Study dailyat least three hours for every hour in class."
Students who have succeeded in this course have the following characteristics. They
All readings should be read before class for full understanding of the subject material.
The text for the course is:
There are also two recommended texts:
These texts are available at the BYU bookstore, or any number of online bookstores (see AllBookStores.com or Campusbooks4less.com for a listing of bookstores and comparison of prices).
Although the title may discourage the serious reader, the Gonick & Smith book is an excellent introduction to statistics, particularly for those who find statistics dull and opaque. It also has the distinct advantage of being correct, even in the details (which is not always the case with such books). The Kranzler book is specifically written for the mathphobic. Another reason to use the recommended texts is that repeated exposure to the same material increases understanding. There are also some web sites that I can recommend which cover the material in the class.
The Agresti and Finlay text is on reserve at the Lee Library. The Gonick & Smith is also on reserve, as well as the second (earlier) edition of Kranzler.
There may be other readings available through links I will provide or through photocopies in the Department of Political Science office (745 SWKT).
On Friday afternoon, there will be two computer labs in 102 SWKT (first lab on the left in the FHSS Computer Center). We will learn how to do basic and advanced statistics in Stata. We may also learn how to do statistics in a couple of other programs to increase flexibility and marketability for future work opportunities. Each week, the lab will cover the commands necessary to do the weekly assignments.
I expect all students to have a working knowledge of the Windows operating system (i.e., what backslashes mean, how to use a mouse, how to use pulldown menus, etc.). If you do not have such knowledge, take some time to get familiar as soon as possible. It will not only benefit you in this class, but other classes and jobs. Of course, if you are already familiar with spreadsheets and statistical programs, this will also help you.
Please arrive in the Computer Lab before class starts to start up the computer and have everything ready to go when class starts.
From the Academic Honesty section of the BYU Honor Code: "The first injunction of the BYU Honor Code is the call to `be honest.' Students come to the university not only to improve their minds, gain knowledge, and develop skills that will assist them in their life's work, but also to build character. `President David O. McKay taught that character is the highest aim of education' (The Aims of a BYU Education, p. 6). It is the purpose of the BYU Academic Honesty Policy to assist in fulfilling that aim.
"BYU students should seek to be totally honest in their dealings with others. They should complete their own work and be evaluated based upon that work. They should avoid academic dishonesty and misconduct in all its forms, including but not limited to plagiarism, fabrication or falsification, cheating, and other academic misconduct." Read the full version here (parts attached to the original paper syllabus).
A colleague (Mitch Sanders, formerly of Notre Dame) has already explicated these issues specifically for social sciences. Please read here (also attached to the original paper syllabus).
If you write a paper for another course (past or present) that uses the same topic as a paper for this course, you need to approve it with me first, and then you must turn in to me a copy of the paper from your other course.
In this class, you need to acknowledge the contributions of others toward your assignments. I have taken the following guidelines from MIT's Unified Engineering class. I have changed various words where appropriate:
"The fundamental principle of academic integrity is that you must fairly represent the source of the intellectual content of the work you submit for credit. In the context of [PlSc 328], this means that if you consult other sources (such as fellow students, TA’s, faculty, literature) in the process of completing homework [(or Stata codes)], you must acknowledge the sources in any way that reflects true ownership of the ideas and methods you used.
"Discussion among students to understand the homework problems or to prepare for [exams] is encouraged.
"COLLABORATION ON HOMEWORK IS ALLOWED UNLESS OTHERWISE DIRECTED AS LONG AS ALL REFERENCES (BOTH LITERATURE AND PEOPLE) USED ARE NAMED CLEARLY AT THE END OF THE ASSIGNMENT. Wordbyword copies of someone else’s solution or parts of a solution handed in for credit will be considered cheating unless there is a reference to the source for any part of the work which was copied verbatim. FAILURE TO CITE OTHER STUDENT’S CONTRIBUTION TO YOUR HOMEWORK SOLUTION WILL BE CONSIDERED CHEATING.
"Study groups are considered an educationally beneficial activity. However, at the end of each problem on which you collaborated with other students you must cite the students and the interaction. The purpose of this is to acknowledge their contribution to your work. Some examples follow:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination against any participant in an educational program or activity that receives federal funds. The act is intended to eliminate sex discrimination in education. Title IX covers discrimination in programs, admissions, activities, and studenttostudent sexual harassment. BYU’s policy against sexual harassment extends not only to employees of the university but to students as well. If you encounter unlawful sexual harassment or gender based discrimination, please talk to your professor; contact the Equal Employment Office at 4225895 or 3675689 (24hours); or contact the Honor Code Office at 4222847.
Brigham Young University is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere which reasonably accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have any disability which may impair your ability to complete this course successfully, please contact the University Accessibility Center (4222767). Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with the student and instructor by the UAC office. If you need assistance or if you feel you have been unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of disability, you may seek resolution through established grievance policy and procedures. You should contact the Equal Employment Office at 4225895, D282 ASB.
Note: AF=Agresti and Finlay; GS=Gonick & Smith; K=Kranzler.
Date 
Topic 
Readings 
Assignments 

January 5 
Overview 


7 
Introduction  AF:1; GS:1; K:13  
10 
Measurement and Sampling  AF:2; GS:6  
12 
Central Tendency  AF:3.13.3; GS:2; K:45 

14 
Variance  AF:3.43.6 

17 
No classMartin Luther King Day 


19 
Probability Distribution  AF:4.14.2; GS:35; K:67 

21 
Sampling Distribution  AF:4.3; GS:6 

24 
Central Limit Theorem  AF:4.44.6 

26 
Point Estimation  AF:5.1  Project Proposal Due 
28 
Confidence Intervals  AF:5.25.6; GS:7  
31 
Confidence Intervals  
February 2 
Hypothesis Tests  AF:6.16.4; GS:8; K:10 

4 
t Distribution  AF:6.56.8; K:11 

7 
t Distribution 


9 
Comparing Means  AF:7.17.3; GS:9  Project Outline Due 
11 
Comparing Means  
14 
Dependent Samples  AF:7.47.6  
16 
Crosstabs  AF:8.18.3; K:13  
18 
Tests of Association  AF:8.48.8  
21 
No classPresidents' Day 


NOTE! 22 
Tests of Association  
23 
Review  
25 
Bivariate Regression  AF:9.19.3; GS:11; K:9  Midterm Exam Distributed 
28 
Regression Inference  AF:9.49.5; K:8  
March 2 
Regression Assumptions 
AF:9.69.7  
4 
Causality  AF:10  Midterm Exam Due 
7 
Multiple Regression  AF:11.111.2  
9 
R^{2}  AF:11.3  
11 
Inference  AF:11.411.9 

14 
Dummy Variables  AF:12.112.3  
16 
Comparison to ANOVA  AF:12.412.9; K:12 

18 
Interaction Terms  AF:13.113.3 (11.5) 

21 
Interaction Terms 


23 
Comparison to ANCOVA  AF:13.413.6  Preliminary Analysis Due 
25 
Logit  AF:15.1 

28 
Logit Inference  AF:15.2 

30 
Logit with Dummies  AF:15.3 

April 1 
Logit Interpretation  AF:15.415.7 

4 
Diagnostics  AF:14.114.3 

6 
Functional Forms 
AF:14.414.5 

8 
Functional Forms 
AF:14.6 

11 
Review 


13 
Review 

Project Paper Due Final Exam Distributed 
20 


Final Exam Due 
Political Science 328 home page
Jay Goodliffe's home page
This page is http://fhss.byu.edu/polsci/Goodliffe/328/syllabus.htm