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LAW B 554: PhD Research Tutorial II Winter 2014

Winter 2014: Tues - Thurs 10:30am - 12:20 pm, Gates Hall 441/Savery Hall 121

                                                      554 Syllabus PDF

Professor: Matt A. Barreto
Email: mbarreto@washington.edu
Office: Gowen Hall 148
Office Hours: By appt

Teaching Assistant: Sergio Garcia
Email: sigarcia@uw.edu
Office: Smith Hall 002
Office Hours: Thurs 10:30am - 12:20pm

Course Description:

The directed Research Tutorial is open to doctoral candidates at UW and spread over one full academic year. It is an intensive and doctoral-level training approach that uses social science research methods to practically advance each student’s specific research agenda. The class runs as a tutorial, meaning there is a heavy focus on reading, discussion, commentary, writing, and especially rewriting under close and targeted supervision by the professor. The course objective is to familiarize students with the basics of research design and methods in their area of interest – from conceptualization of the central question in the context of a field (“why does the question arise?,” “What is the puzzle?”) to the logic of social scientific inquiry (“How can we best answer it?”). Students are expected (a) to gain a working knowledge of a wide range of methodological approaches and techniques in the social sciences; (b) to concretely use those qualitative and/or quantitative approaches they deem appropriate in crafting their own research and writing; (c) to produce a dissertation-related research proposal and, based on it, a publishable-quality research paper; and (d) to formally present their research paper in a simulated formal conference setting in the final quarter.

This is the second course in a graduate sequence on research design and the basics of analysis. Building on the foundations in Research Tutorial I in the Autumn Quarter, this course will teach you how to test your hypotheses in an appropriate scientific manner. Even if empirical data analysis is not at the forefront of your research agenda, it plays a very important role in social science research, books and articles today – so it is very important that everyone of us has a basic understanding of data analysis and simple statistics so we can read, write, understand, and critique the existing literature, research and scholarship in our subfield.

This course will be taught primarily using the statistical software package Stata, and as such, we will spend considerable time learning how to use Stata, and how to manage our various datasets. Knowing the math and statistics behind the analysis is essential, and you will learn this in is class, however if you can not put it to practice correctly in a statistical package, that knowledge is not very useful. Thus, you will learn not only the statistics behind the curtain, but also learn, in-depth, how to create, use, manage, analyze and present the data. You should plan to have Stata installed on your own personal machine, and you should also sign up for a CSDE login, so you can remote access to Stata and other software. CSDE is freely available to all UW students. Request a CSDE account here: csde.washington.edu/services/computing/accounts/new.php.

Finally, we will spend a considerable amount of time learning and practicing how to present your argument, research statements and data analysis findings. If you can not present your research findings in a coherent and compelling way to your audience/reader, it doesn’t matter how sophisticated your methods are. One of the most important things you can master as a scholar is being able to give a high quality presentation of research findings, including bullet points, data tables, charts and graphs to convey your point clearly and effectively to your audience. The Thursday sessions will be a hands-on time to explore and practice data analysis each week.

Books / Articles:

We will use various readings and books in this class for different degrees and purposes. The Wonnacott & Wonnacott book is REQUIRED. The other books are important starting points in learning how to apply statistical analysis to political science research questions, and also how to implement and manage your data in Stata. Beyond this, other readings may be found online, or academic journals, as necessary, and I will notify you of those, if and when we use additional materials.

  • Wonnacott and Wonnacott. 1990. Introductory Statistics, 5th Edition. Wiley.
  • Lawrence Hamilton. 2009. Statistics with Stata, version 10. Cengage.
  • Stata Press 2011. Getting Started With Stata for Windows/Mac, 12th Edition
  • Michael Mitchell. 2010. Data Management Using Stata. Stata Press.


    Research outline (1 page)		Cr/NC
    Extended outline (5 pages)		Cr/NC
    Thurs Lab Section				25 points
    Homeworks					25 points
    Research presentation			25 points
    Final Stats Paper (20 pages +/-)	25 points
    TOTAL					100 points

    Tentative Course Outline: (subject to change)
    Week 1:	Welcome and Introductions / W&W Chapter 1 “Nature of Statistics”
    Week 2:	W&W Chapters 2 – Descriptive Statistics and Probability
    Week 3: 	W&W Chapter 4 – Distributions of Variables
    Week 4: 	W&W Chapter 6 – Sampling
    Week 5:	W&W Chapter 8 – Confidence Intervals
    Week 6: 	W&W Chapters 15 – Correlation
    Week 7: 	W&W Chapter 11 – Fitting a Line
    Week 8: 	W&W Chapter 12 – Simple Regression
    Week 9: 	W&W Chapter 13 – Multiple Regression
    Week 10: 	Final Presentations in class (PowerPoint)