The Department of Government
The Department of Government

Michael Rivera

Assistant ProfessorPh.D., University of California, San Diego

Michael Rivera



Michael Rivera received his PhD in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.  Before moving to San Diego, he studied at the University of California, Davis where he received a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish.

His research interests include immigration policy, issues of representation, race and ethnic politics, and American voter behavior. He's especially interested in how public opinion influences viable political options and is interested in issues of legislative responsiveness. Michael seeks to better understand the frames used in social media when discussing Hispanics and immigration and he's also interested in understanding how social media can be used to gauge political sentiment on a wide variety of issues.  Finally, he seeks to further explore how perceptions about Hispanics and other racial and ethnic minorities shape one’s political attitudes.


GOV 370K • Latino Politics

37830 • Fall 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm WAG 214
(also listed as LAS 337M, MAS 374)

Course number:  GOV   370K  




This course approaches Latino politics from two distinct perspectives.  First, students will learn about Latino political behavior.  More specifically, we will discuss how Latinos become politically socialized in the US.  What do Latinos view as the most important problem facing the county?  Which party do Latinos align with?  What impact do changing demographics have on American Politics?  Second, students will become familiar with contemporary Latino policy issues.  We will cover topics like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), in-state tuition policies in the states, Latino health disparities, etc.

Assignments and grading: 2 exams; 2 written assignment; in-class participation (this is subject to change slightly)

Texts: TBD.

Prerequisites: 6 semester hours of lower division coursework in Government

GOV 314 • Latino Pol:voter Id/Health/Edu

37861 • Spring 2015
Meets MWF 1100am-1200pm CMA 3.114
(also listed as MAS 319)

This course is designed to introduce undergraduate students to the research design and methods used in contemporary social science research.  The course will cover the main components of research design, and will provide students with the tools to become capable consumers of social science research.

Students will learn basic methods that can be applied to many disciplines; however, all case studies in this course will focus on literatures in Mexican-American and Latina/o Studies.  Students will also become familiar with the “tools of the trade” in Mexican-American and Latina/o studies.

The primary goal of the course will be to prepare the students to read academic work more critically.  Students will also become familiar with what makes a “good” social science research question.  Questions will include: What’s a hypothesis?  What is a research design?  What is a research method?


Requirements and Grading

  • 20%: Class Participation – Participation will be graded on quality of the contributions and knowledge of the weekly readings.  In this course, the quality of analysis is much more important than the quantity of the material covered.
  • 40%: Exam(s):  Students will critique an existing study and will provide recommendations on how the study could be improved.
  • 40%: Final Assignment – Students will construct a research design.  Students will not collect original data, but rather will design a research project, similar to a grant proposal.  This will encourage student to think about future research opportunities (e.g. senior thesis, grad school, etc. )

Required Texts

  • Trochim, William M.K. and James P. Donnelly. 2006. The Research Methods Knowledge Base. 3rd Edition. Mason, OH: Atomic Dog.
  • Babbie, Earl R. The Practice of Social Research. Cengage Learning
  • Other readings will be provided by the Professor.

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    The University of Texas at Austin
    158 W 21st ST STOP A1800
    Batts Hall 2.116
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