An Introduction to Empirical Methods

In 2018 and 2019, I taught the Introduction to Empirical Methods course that is part of the Ralph Bunche Summer Institute, which is directed by Dr. Paula D. McClain. I would have done so again in 2020, but for the global pandemic. Due to the cancellation of the RBSI this year, I have converted the non-lab component of the course I would have taught into an online version.

The online version of this course comprises 4 recorded lectures separated into 40 modules ranging in length from 8 to around 45 minutes each, plus a brief introduction. All videos can be found on my YouTube channel in playlists by lecture, and the course has a Syllabus too. There are six slides for the four lectures, here: Lecture_1, Part_1, Lecture_1,_Part_2 , Lecture_2,_Part_1, Lecture_2,_Part_2, Lecture_3, and Lecture_4. Finally, I offer some additional Problem Sets with Solutions at the end, for extra practice. I have also added a fifth lecture, described in the syllabus and found on the same channel, that provides a brief introduction to game theory. It is targeted at those students who want to delve more deeply into theory generation, and its slides are here: Lecture_5.

Though the course is meant to cover the same material I normally do as part of the RBSI, nothing I teach is specific to the RBSI. The course is patterned largely on Kellstedt and Whitten’s undergraduate research methods text The Fundamentals of Political Science Research, with two exceptions. One, I cover the material very quickly. Two, I provide additional mathematical foundations for several topics, touching on vectors and matrices, as well as differentiation. I also have a separate “math camp” course available on the same YouTube channel.

I hope you find this course of use. Please feel free to leave comments below, or on the videos themselves, should you have them.

2 replies on “An Introduction to Empirical Methods”

Thank you Professor Siegel for creating this amazing resource for the entire discipline to use. We greatly appreciate your service to the APSA Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI) and the care that you took to make sure that the summer 2020 APSA Bunche Fellows who participated in the virtual program were able to learn about research methods! We enjoyed having you as one of our guest faculty lecturers!

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