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Understanding Political Science Statistics

Observations and Expectations in Political Analysis

By Peter Galderisi

Routledge – 2014 – 288 pages

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    978-0-415-89005-2
    February 12th 2015
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Description

Any student can learn the basic concepts of statistics if they are introduced as solutions to particular problems, and not formulas with a life of their own. In this text, students are introduced to a problem, asked to consider, conceptually, how one would address that problem, and then led through the derivation of the appropriate statistical formula. This applied method of teaching statistics through political science examples allows students to see the research method as problem solving. They learn the math, but only after they learn the concepts and methodological considerations that give the math context.

The concepts throughout are presented through the lens of "observations and expectations," applied to myriad statistical techniques, both descriptive and inferential, as well as more generalized concepts of research methodology itself, such as hypothesis testing. Galderisi highlights that with each advance in technical sophistication, each statistical procedure is built on a small set of basic concepts, such as the reasons for standardization, the effects of outliers, or the concept of proportional reduction of error, to show that they are cumulative. More important than just memorizing a series of formula, this text emphasizes the underlying logic of statistical analysis for greater understanding. Further, the applications and examples drawn from political science (including law) allow students to better see how they can apply these concepts and techniques in their own research and in future coursework.

The following features help students master the material:

  • "Statistics in the Real World" boxes highlight key concepts and how statistics are related to politics and law;
  • End-of-chapter exercises allow students to test their mastery of the basic concepts and techniques along the way;
  • A Sample Answer Guide provides worked-out answers for odd-numbered exercises, with all answers available in the Instructor’s Manual;
  • Key Terms are helpfully called out in both Marginal Definitions and a Glossary;
  • A Companion Website with a broad array of data sets and further resources for both students and instructors; and
  • Companion guides to SPSS and Stata walk students through the procedures for analysis and provide exercises that go hand-in-hand with online data sets.

Contents

1. Political Science, the Scientific Method, and Statistical Analysis: An Overview

2. How Do We Measure and Observe?

3. Central Tendency as Summary Observation

4. Dispersion, Variation, Goodness of Fit as Summary Observation

5. Standardized Scores and Normal Distributions: The Concept of Relative Observation

6. An Intuitive Introduction to Inference and Hypothesis Testing

7. Hypothesis Testing and the Concept of ASsociation: Observations and Expectatiosn about the Difference between Two Means

8. Inferential Statistics for Proportions

9. Measuring Association for Nominal and Ordinal Data

10. Research Design and the Use of Control Variables

11. Different by How Much? Linear Regression

12. Retracing Our Steps: Hypotheses, Multiple Regression, and the EFfects of Third Variables

Name: Understanding Political Science Statistics: Observations and Expectations in Political Analysis (Paperback)Routledge 
Description: By Peter Galderisi. Any student can learn the basic concepts of statistics if they are introduced as solutions to particular problems, and not formulas with a life of their own. In this text, students are introduced to a problem, asked to consider, conceptually, how one...
Categories: Statistics, Political Research Methods, Statistics, Quantitative Methods