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The Essentials of Political Analysis


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Table of Contents

Tables, Figures, and Boxes Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction Facts and Values in Perspective The Scientific Approach What This Book Is About Conclusion Key Terms Notes CHAPTER 1 * The Definition and Measurement of Concepts Learning Objectives Conceptual Definitions Operational Definitions Measurement Error Reliability and Validity Working with Datasets, Codebooks, and Software Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 2 * Measuring and Describing Variables Learning Objectives Essential Features Levels of Measurement Describing Variables Transforming Variables Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 3 * Proposing Explanations, Framing Hypotheses, and Making Comparisons Learning Objectives "All Models Are Wrong, But Some Are Useful" Proposing Explanations Framing Hypotheses Common Mistakes in Hypothesis Writing Making Comparisons Graphing Relationships and Describing Patterns Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 4 * Research Design, Research Ethics, and Evidence of Causation Learning Objectives Establishing Causation Experimental Designs Selecting Cases for Analysis Conducting Research Ethically Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 5 * Making Controlled Comparisons Learning Objectives The Logic of Controlled Comparisons Essential Terms and Concepts Effect of Partisanship on Gun Control Vote, Controlling for Gender: An Illustrative Example Controlled Mean Comparisons Identifying Patterns Advanced Methods of Making Controlled Comparisons Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 6 * Foundations of Statistical Inference Learning Objectives Population Parameters and Sample Statistics The Central Limit Theorem and the Normal Distribution Quantifying Standard Errors Confidence Intervals Sample Size and the Margin of Error of a Poll Inferences with Small Batches: The Student's t-Distribution Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 7 * Tests of Significance and Measures of Association Learning Objectives Statistical Significance and Null Hypothesis Testing One-Sample Significance Tests Two-Sample Significance Tests The Chi-square Test Measures of Association Criticisms of Null Hypothesis Testing Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 8 * Correlation and Linear Regression Learning Objectives Correlation Bivariate Regression Educational Attainment and Voter Turnout in States Example R-square Multiple Regression Some Practical Issues: Multicollinearity, Parsimony, and Missing Data Analyzing Residuals to Evaluate Linear Regression Models Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 9 * Logistic Regression Learning Objectives The Logistic Regression Approach Logistic Regression Approach to Vote Choice in the 2016 Presidential Election Finding the Best Fit: Maximum Likelihood Estimation Logistic Regression with Multiple Independent Variables Graphing Predicted Probabilities with Multiple Independent Variables Summary Key Terms Exercises Notes CHAPTER 10 * Conducting Your Own Political Analysis Picking a Good Topic Getting Focused and Staying Motivated Reviewing Prior Literature Collecting Data Writing It Up Maintain a Scientific Mindset Key Terms Exercises Notes Index

About the Author

Philip H. Pollock III is professor of political science at the University of Central Florida. He has taught courses in research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels for nearly 40 years. His main research interests are American public opinion, voting behavior, techniques of quantitative analysis, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His recent research has been on the effectiveness of Internet-based instruction. Pollock's research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Social Science Quarterly, and British Journal of Political Science. Recent scholarly publications include articles in Political Research Quarterly, the Journal of Political Science Education, and PS: Political Science and Politics. Barry C. Edwards is a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Central Florida. He received his B.A. from Stanford University, a J.D. from New York University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. His teaching and research interests include American politics, law, and research methods. He founded the Political Science Data Group and created the web site. His research has been published in American Politics Research, Congress & the Presidency, Election Law Journal, Emory Law Journal, Georgia Bar Journal, Harvard Negotiation Law Review, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Presidential Studies Quarterly, Public Management Review, and State Politics and Policy Quarterly.


"A great resource to get students up and running on statistical analysis in politics. I recommend this book to all my colleagues. The accompanying workbook for R is also excellent."

-- Sarah E. Croco

"Pollock and Edwards explain the nuts-and-bolts of research design and data analysis in a clear and concise style. The Essential of Political Analysis is an intuitive introduction to complex material, replete with examples from the political science literature that add relevance to statistical concepts. This text offers students an excellent balance between the technical and the practical."

-- Francis Neely

"The recent edition of The Essentials of Political Analysis provides a strong foundation in statistics for political science students. The integration between the main textbook and its companion is excellent. The instructor resources present effective teaching tools that complement the book seamlessly."

-- Tijen Demirel-Pegg

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