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Robert G. Moser, Chair BAT 2.116, Mailcode A1800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-5121

Methodology

METHODOLOGY is centrally about statistical theory and methods. Political methodology adapts and develops ideas from statistics to the empirical study of politics, in much the same ways as do econometrics in Economics and psychometrics in Psychology.

The core of this enterprise is the analysis of statistical models based on substantive theory, in a growing number of cases mathematically derived (spatial models of party competition being a prime example). Students are encouraged and expected to learn how to develop and interpret models that comport with their theories, as well as how to estimate the models' parameters and judge the quality of the estimates.

Courses in Methodology are designed to be useful to students wishing to conduct rigorous analysis of empirical questions in American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, Formal Theory, and Public Law; to understand and be able to criticize articles in these fields in the leading political science journals; to contribute to the leading political science journals themselves; to be able to stand up to methodological criticisms by others; or to make original contributions to political methodology itself.

Coursework

The core course for the field is Statistics II. Among the courses offered in Methodology are:

Basic Courses

  • Statistics I (Basic Statistics)
  • Statistics II (Regression Models)*

Advanced Courses

  • Advanced Regression
  • Applied Quantitative Analysis
  • Covariance Structure Models
  • Frameworks for Social Science Research
  • Mathematical Methods for Political Analysis (Maximum Likelihood Estimation)
  • Models for Discrete Dependent Variables
  • Politics and Economy
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Simultaneous Equation Models
  • Spatial Theory
  • Time-Series Analysis

Many of these courses are presently offered under the same course number, GOV 385L Topics in Political Methodology, which may be taken several times, so long as the content is different each time. The frequency with which specific courses are offered varies with student interest and instructor availability.

Preparation for Preliminary Examinations

Students taking the preliminary examination in Methodology should have mastered the material in Statistics I and II and at least three other, more advanced courses. (The last set of courses listed above count as advanced; others not presently listed may also fit the designation, as may courses in econometrics or statistics.)

Spring 2014 Preliminary Exam

Fall 2013 Preliminary Exam, Spring 2013 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2012 Preliminary Exam, Spring 2012 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2011 Preliminary Exam, Spring 2011 Preliminary Exam, Fall 2010 Preliminary Exam, Past preliminary examinations

Faculty

Listing of Graduate Courses

  • Advanced Regression
  • Applied Quantitative Analysis
  • Covariance Structure Models
  • Frameworks for Social Science Research
  • Mathematical Methods for Political Analysis (Maximum Likelihood Estimation)
  • Models for Discrete Dependent Variables
  • Politics and Economy
  • Qualitative Methods
  • Simultaneous Equation Models
  • Spatial Theory
  • Statistical Analysis in Political Science I
  • Statistical Analysis in Political Science II*
  • Time-Series Analysis

Out-of-Department Courses

Students wishing to make contributions to the Methodology field are encouraged to supplement these offerings by taking econometrics or statistics courses in the Economics or Mathematics Department.

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