Research Methods for Political Science (2019-2020)
Welcome! This website is meant to provide students with additional and useful material for PO3110 and PO3111, Research Methods for Political Science A and B.
This space will be used to publish tutorials’ slides and extra-material such as useful papers or web-pages. You find the slides of the lectures, homeworks and datasets on Blackboard. This webpage only supplements the information from Blackboard by offering additional material.
Should you have further queries, please do get in touch with me!
I prepared this Google Calendar with all the main deadlines and dates for the course. Feel free to add it to your Calendars.
Communication and Office Hours
For questions about the lectures or tutorials you can either send me an email or join the Slack channel I have set up for the course. Slack is a workspace hub with amazing chat features that allow for a quick and efficient communication. The idea behind this is to create a virtual space where you can ask questions that me and your colleague will be able to see as well (use emails for private communication!). For a fancier description on slack click HERE.
How to join? Just click HERE and use to TCD email to log in]. Please avoid using nicknames.
In general, I scheduled my office hours on Tuesdays from 15 to 16 (ONLY upon request). While I am certainly happy to meet students, I would encourage you to bring up doubts, questions or issues of sort during tutorials.
Get and install SPSS
This course is based on SPSS. You are free to use alternative (and free) statistical software such as R or JASP. As a TCD student, you get a free SPSS license from the IT Service. What you need to do: Either you go to the IT Service Desk, get an installation DVD and fill out a form, or you print the form, bring it to the IT Service Desk and download SPSS directly from the TCD download website. Note that you will need to be logged in to the TCD network (cabled) to download the software. Once you got the files, follow the instructions provided in the PDF file. The licence code is on the tcd software website, HERE. If you scroll down on the licence page there should be an heading for the 2018/19 licence.
Online Support and Resources
While we will cover a lot of the SPSS functions in the tutorials, for your homework and research project you will very likely need additional functions.
- SPSS Tutorials: A website with dozens of useful SPSS tutorials.
- Tutorials, Kent State University: An wide range of written and illustrated SPSS tutorials.
- UCLA Tutorials for R, Stata and SAS: Very useful tutorials for the most important statistical analyses.
- Swirl: Simulates an R workspace allowing you to learn R in R.
- Moderndive: A great interactive introduction to data visualisation and modelling in R.
- Stackoverflow: Here you will find almost all answers to specific questions.
Information on submitting assignments
Throughout both Michaelmas and Hilary term you will need to submit homeworks, assignments and a research project. You are free to conduct the homework with SPSS or an alternative statistical software (for example Stata or R, but not Excel).
Some general rules:
The assignments must be typed into a LaTeX or Word/Open Office document and submitted as a PDF via Turnitin (see the Syllabus for more details). Screenshots of the SPSS output are not sufficient as you will need to describe and interpret the results and procedures.
If you include tables, do not use a screenshot, but use the “export” function from SPSS. Please save figures appropriately in high resolution (We recommend PDF as vector graphic formats have the best possible quality).
Add the contents of the SPSS Syntax file/R script/Stata do file at the end of your document. It is good academic practice to present the full code and replication script. While SPSS has a point-and-klick interface, not relying on scripts results in extra work if you need to repeat an analysis. Even more important, only with scripts you can ensure reproducibility of your results. On the topic of reproducibility, have a look at the following links:
To reiterate, please copy the contents from the SPSS syntax file at the end of the submitted document.
Useful links for each tutorial
Below I post a selection of useful links for each tutorial. If you found additional material that might be useful, either open a pull request on GitHub or let me know via email/slack.
Tutorial 1, MT
- Introduction to the SPSS Environment;
- Panels, symbols, output viewer
- Syntax editor
- Importing datasets
- Simulate the distribution of sample means
Tutorial 2, MT
- Subset data
- Grouped Data (Split Command)
- Recode variables
- How to name variables and share data
- Change decimals for numeric variables
- Difference between standard deviation and standard error
Tutorial 3, MT
- Tutorial Slides (MT 3)
- Simulated Rent Data (by Stefan Mueller)
- Student’s t-test explained
- Calculate t-test by hand
- Calculate t-test in SPSS
Tutorial 4, MT
- Export in SPSS
- Hypothesis Testing - Z test two-tailed example (VIDEO)
- Hypothesis Testing - T test one-tailed example (VIDEO)
Tutorial 5, MT
- Cross-tabs in SPSS
- How (not) to interpret confidence intervals
- Save and export graphs in SPSS
- Add regression line to plot in SPSS
Tutorial 6, MT
- Cross-tabs in SPSS
- Merge datasets in SPSS
- Understanding and interpret boxplots
- Cheat sheet for plotting different types of variables
- Interpret results from cross-tables
Tutorial 7, MT
Tutorial 8, MT
- Calculate correlation coefficient by hand
- Correlation in SPSS and some theory
- Same stats, different graphs
- Choosing the right statistical test
- Choosing a statistical test
- Tutorial: Choosing the correct statistical test
Tutorial 9, MT
- Advanced Video: Comparison of Independent-Samples T Test and Paired-Samples T Test using SPSS
- Types of T-tests
- Paired Samples T-tests
- Independent Samples T-tests
This repo has been forked from PO3600 repo from last year and further adapted/updated. We thank Stefan Mueller for the amazing resources.