GOV S370L • Research on the US Congress
RESTRICTED ENROLLMENT; CONTACT THE DEPARTMENT FOR PERMISSION TO REGISTER FOR THIS COURSE. Additional hours(s) to be arranged. Course number may be repeated for credit when the topics vary. This research course is an attempt to replicate the laboratory of the hard sciences. In those laboratories, students are engaged in independent projects; however, their work is coordinated and synthesized by a principal investigator who will use the independent projects to form a greater whole. In these senses, this course will be a social science laboratory. In the end, your work will be synthesized by a principal investigator (me) in the construction of a major book on lawmaking in the modern Congress. Each semester, five students who have received EXPRESS WRITTEN PERMISSION FROM ME (PROFESSOR SEAN THERIAULT) will have the opportunity to enroll in this course. In the beginning of the semester, we will meet as a class a couple of times to flesh out some ideas for your independent (and yet dependent) research projects. After those initial meetings, you will only be meeting with me on an ad hoc basis (probably around three or four times over the course of the semester). Toward the end of the semester, we will come again together as a class so that you can all present your work to me and the other students.
Each student will take the lead on either a particular research project or projects. With me, we will hammer out these research ideas in the first couple of weeks of the semester. For the remainder of the semester, the student will work on these projects, reporting to me and the other students at regular intervals. I will always be available for questions and comments as they arise. In addition to conducting original research, the student is also responsible for writing a 10-page paper that reports their methodology and findings. Grades will be determined by evaluating both the original research and the 10-page paper. Regrettably, because of the competitive nature of getting into the course, I will not permit any Q-drops. By signing up for the course, you are denying a spot to a plethora of other interested students. Out of fairness to them, once you commit to it, you're committed!
Due to the research nature of the course, the course readings will be highly contingent upon the final research project that the student develops. After coming up with a topic, we will sit down together and come up with a list of relevant readings.