• Introduce students to comparative political science, i.e. approaches to political science which focus on differences and similarities of political institutions across political systems and their effects on political life and public policies;
• Convey basic empirical research skills;
• Provide a venue to explore the scope of political science.
The course will provide you with a survey of important concepts of comparative politics. You will pursue one policy area in greater depth in a research paper that compares the United States’ and another country’s approach to a given issue in a comparative research paper by asking how and why policy responses to similar problems differed (or not).
There are two required and one recommended texts for this class. Additional readings will be posted on Moodle.
• Caramani, Danièle. 2008. Comparative politics. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.
• Van Evera, Stephen. 1997. Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.
• Lijphart, Arend. 1999. Patterns of Democracy: Government Forms and Performance in thirty-six Countries. New Haven: Yale University Press (recommended).
• Comparative research paper
• Conference leadership
• Conference minutes
• Class participation
Country/Policy area assignment
Each student will choose a country/policy area pairing from a matrix of countries and issues on September 4. This assignment serves two purposes: (1) throughout the semester we will break into policy or country groups to discuss the effects of institutional and country differences on policy-making; (2) your research paper will involve comparison of your policy area between the United States and your assigned country.
The aim of this comparative research paper is to explore one policy area in detail. It is to be comparative in nature – i.e. comparing the same policy area in the United States and your assigned country. You will develop your research paper in three steps:
1. Research proposal (due 10/1)
Pick a causal research question for your research paper. Start researching it. Draft a proposal, consisting of the question, its significance, and brief overview of existing research on the topic. No more than two pages, at least three important scholarly political science sources.
2. Annotated bibliography (due 10/15)
Start using the library resources to create an annotated bibliography to guide your literature review. Your bibliography needs to contain at least 15 relevant items. For each entry include a short abstract (what is this piece about, why is it relevant to your research) and also indicate how you found it (database and search terms; bibliography of what other piece; or recommendation by whom).
3. Review of the relevant literature and applicable theory (due 11/5).
Scientific discoveries build on previous discoveries. Reviewing the existing literature in the field provides you with a better idea of what others have found out about your topic; how you may want to adapt your question in light of pre-existing scholarship; and which theoretical approaches you may choose. This can be a lengthy research process, start early! Link your research question to theory and existing literature. Generate hypotheses to guide your research. Expect to summarize your findings in up to 5 pages.
4. Revisions of previous sections and final submission of complete research paper (due 12/18)
Reflect on the feedback you have received on previous parts of your research paper assignment to revise those parts and complete your research paper by conducting the required empirical research and composing the remainder of the paper.
There is no set length requirement, but a good research paper is focused and detailed at the same time. As a rule of thumb, a paper should be no longer than 10,000 words – a limit set by many journals in the field. Some journals even limit submissions to 7,500 words. It is good to get used to these limitations early on.
Please follow the APSA style guide for political science (see for example: http://dept.lamar.edu/polisci/DRURY/drury.html and http://www.csuchico.edu/~kcfount/guides/APSA.pdf).
Your grade will be determined primarily by the content of your paper assignments; nevertheless you are expected to submit well-written work that has been thoroughly proofread for grammar, punctuation, and style. Sloppy or poorly written work may result in a penalty.
Each student will be responsible for presenting the main issues and concepts from the readings and leading conference once during the semester. Preparation for this task includes an especially close reading of the assigned literature, drafting of questions to be discussed in class, and a meeting with me on the day before class to go over the covered material.
Similarly, each student will be responsible for generating minutes of one class during the semester. The purpose of the minutes is similar to that of the presentation: provide a summary of the main issues and concepts raised in class - i.e. provide a synthesis of that class’ topics. You should not provide a verbatim record of all in-class discussions but rather distill the main points to be remembered. The minutes are due on the SAME day while your memory is still fresh. They have to be submitted by midnight. Sign up for your presentation and minutes on September 4.
Comparative politics: a field defined by its method or a residual category? (9/2)
Reading: Caramani, Introduction to comparative politics, pp. 1-23.
Lijphart, Arend. 1971. Comparative Politics and the Comparative Method. The American Political Science Review 65(3), September 1971, 682-93.
Nørgaard, Asbjørn S. 2008. Political Science: Witchcraft or Craftsmanship? Standards for Good Research. World Political Science Review 4 (1).
Comparative politics and political science: co-evolution, catching up, or standing still? (9/4)
Reading: Beyme, Klaus von. The evolotion of comparative politics. In Caramani, chapter 1.
Kalleberg, Arthur L. 1966. The Logic of Comparison: A Methodological Note on the Comparative Study of Political Systems. World Politics 19(1), October 1966, 69-82.
Easton, David. 1997. The Future of the Postbehavioral Phase in Political Science. In Contemporary Empirical Political Theory, edited by K. R. Monroe. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Comparisons and theory (9/9)
Reading: Peters, B. Guy. Approaches in compapartive politics. In Caramani, chapter 2.
Lichbach, Mark Irving, and Alan S. Zuckerman. 1997. Research Traditions and Theory in Comparative Politics: An Introduction. In Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure, edited by M. I. Lichbach and A. S. Zuckerman. Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. (library JA86 .C52 1997)
Lichbach, Mark Irving. 1997. Social Theory and Comparative Politics. In Comparative Politics: Rationality, Culture, and Structure, edited by M. I. Lichbach and A. S. Zuckerman. Cambridge, U.K. ; New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. (library: JA86 .C52 1997)
Comparison as a method (9/11)
Reading: Keman, Hans. Comparative Research Methods. In Caramani, chapter 3.
Van Evera, Stephen. 1997. Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, chapters 1-2.
Sartori, Giovanni (1994). Compare Why and How: Comparing, Miscomparing and the Comparative Method. In Comparing Nations: Concepts, Strategies, Substance, edited by M. Dogan and A. Kazancigil. Oxford: Blackwell. (PDF online or library: JF51 .C622)
Further reading on methodological innovations: Berg-Schlosser, Dirk, Gisèle De Meur, Benoît Rihoux, and Charles C. Ragin (2009). Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) as an Approach. In Configurational Comparative Methods: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Related Techniques, edited by B. Rihoux and C. C. Ragin. Thousand Oaks: Sage.
Optional classic reading: Przeworski, Adam, and Henry Teune. 1982. The Logic of Comparative Social Inquiry. Malabar: Krieger. (library: H62 .P79)
Human subjects and research ethics resources mentioned in class: Reed's own policies, procedures, and resources are available at: http://web.reed.edu/human_subjects/.
Hauck, Robert J. P. 2008. Protecting Human Research Participants, IRBs, and Political Science Redux: Editor's Introduction. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):475-6.
Levine, Felice J., and Paula R. Skedsvold. 2008. Where the Rubber Meets the Road: Aligning IRBs and Research Practice. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):501-5.
Porter, Tony. 2008. Research Ethics Governance and Political Science in Canada. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):495-9.
Seligson, Mitchell A. 2008. Human Subjects Protection and Large-N Research: When Exempt is Non-Exempt and Research is Non-Research. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):477-82.
Tolleson-Rinehart, Sue. 2008. A Collision of Noble Goals: Protecting Human Subjects, Improving Health Care, and a Research Agenda for Political Science. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):507-11.
Yanow, Dvora, and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea. 2008. Reforming Institutional Review Board Policy: Issues in Implementation and Field Research. PS: Political Science & Politics 41 (03):483-94.
The nation-state (9/16)
Reading: Poggi, Gianfranco. The nation-state. In: Caramani, chapter 4.
Krasner, Stephen D. 1984. Approaches to the State: Alternative Conceptions and Historical Dynamics. Comparative Politics (January 1984):223-46.
Optional reading: Grimm, Dieter. 1993. Der Staat in der kontinentaleuropäischen Tradition. In Abschied vom Staat - Rückkehr zum Staat?, edited by R. Voigt. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
Comparative research: finding a good research question (9/18)
Reading: Baglione, Lisa A. 2006. Writing a Research Paper in Political Science: A Practical Guide to Inquiry, Structure, and Methods. Belmont, CA: Thomson Higher Education, ch. 1-2, p. 1-30 (on Moodle).
Laurence F. Jones and Edward C. Olson (1996): Political Science Research: A Handbook of Scope and Methods. Chapter 2: The Problem: Essence of the Research Project, p.22-29 (on Moodle).
Assignment: Pick a causal research question for your research paper. Start researching it. Draft a proposal, consisting of the question, its significance, and brief overview of existing research on the topic. No more than two pages, at least three important scholarly political science sources. Due by October 1. Submit through Moodle.
Democracies and non-democracies (9/23)
Reading: Mair, Peter. Democracies. In: Caramani, chapter 5.
Brooker, Paul. Autoritarian regimes. In: Caramani, chapter 6.
Munck, Gerardo L., and Jay Verkuilen. 2002. Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy: Evaluating Alternative Indices. Comparative Political Studies 35 (1):5-34.
Lai, Brian, and Dan Slater. 2006. Institutions of the Offensive: Domestic Sources of Dispute Initiation in Authoritarian Regimes. American Journal of Political Science 50 (1):113-26.
Reading: Kreppel, Amie: Legislatures. In: Caramani, chapter 7.
Vatter, Adrian. 2005. Bicameralism and policy performance: The effects of cameral structure in Comparative Perspective. The Journal of Legislative Studies 11 (2):194 - 215
Patterson, Samuel C., and Anthony Mughan. 2001. Fundamentals of Institutional Design: The Functions and Powers of Parliamentary Second Chambers. The Journal of Legislative Studies 7 (1):39 - 60.
Government and bureaucracies (9/30)
Reading: Müller, Wolfgang C. Governments and bureaucracies. In: Caramani, chapter 8