Recent & Upcoming Courses
- Political Science 260 – Introduction to American Politics and Public Policy: Full course for one semester. This course provides an introduction to the processes of political decision making, political institutions, and the formation of public policy in the United States. The course introduces students to the basics of political decision making by a collective, including how individual actors (voters, politicians, policy makers) reason; how institutions constrain and shape action; and how policies are ultimately designed and implemented. There will be weekly lectures and individual conferences. Lecture-conference. Course may not be taken for credit if the student has previously taken Political Science 210 or 250.
- Political Science 311 – Political Science Laboratory: Data Analysis and Statistics for Political Scientists: Full course for one semester. This course is designed to provide students with the skills necessary to conduct quantitative research in the social sciences. The course provides a hands-on approach to obtaining, managing, and using data. Students will learn how to formulate appropriate research questions, obtain relevant information, and input and analyze data in a statistical program. To the degree possible, data will be obtained from a variety of sources and relevant to a variety of political science questions in multiple subfields. Statistical topics will include tabular analysis, regression, dichotomous linear models (logit, probit), and graphical display of data. Students who have previously taken Economics 311, Sociology 311, or Mathematics 141 are discouraged from taking this course due to overlap in coverage. Prerequisite: one course in political science, economics, or sociology; or consent of the instructor. Lecture-laboratory.
- Political Science 330 – The U.S. Congress: Full course for one semester. This course will examine the development and current state of America’s preeminent political institution: the U.S. Congress. We explore the “environment” of Congress in two main ways: external (mainly electoral) and internal (institutional rules, procedures and inertia). Since Congress makes its own rules, we will talk about the institution of Congress as a product of the goals and motivations of the members. These two views of Congress—a 200-year-old institution and a noisy aggregate of members—are a centerpiece of this course. The second theme of the course is politics vs. policy. Nothing can be “good” policy that has no chance of passing. The tension between politics and policy is one of the enduring features (and frustrations!) of Congress. Assignments in the class include a series of short papers and longer research papers. Course readings and some assignments may include quantitative and analytical materials. An understanding of strategic behavior, rational choice, or parliamentary rules is helpful, but not necessary. We may, if the class chooses, engage in a group project analyzing a current or recently passed piece of legislation. Prerequisite: one introductory political science course. Conference.
- Political Science 333 – Elections: American Style: Full course for one semester. Elections are fundamental to democratic government, but there seem to be as many variations in electoral institutions, party systems, and campaign styles as there are democratic societies. In this course, we review the expansive literature covering elections, electoral rules, and electoral behavior in the United States. The course focuses on three main areas. First, we review electoral institutions, including laws, regulations, and the current state of electoral reforms. Second, we will survey the campaign literature, likely focusing on the presidency. Finally, we will examine individual vote choice—why individuals choose to vote, how they integrate information from the political environment, and how they cast their ballot. Students should be comfortable with analytical and quantitative material, since it makes up such a large portion of the literature in this area. Prerequisite: Political Science 260 (formerly Political Science 210 and 250), and one upper-division course in the social sciences. Conference.
- Political Science 341 – Case Studies in Statistical Analysis: Full course for one semester. Applied statistics class with an emphasis on data analysis. The course will be problem driven with a focus on collecting and manipulating data, using exploratory data analysis and visualization tools, identifying statistical methods appropriate for the question at hand, and communicating the results in both written and presentation form. For 2017, the course will focus on data management and inferential challenges related to working with voter registration, voter history, and elections returns data. Prerequisite for mathematics credit: Mathematics 141 or equivalent. Prerequisite for political science credit: one statistics course (Mathematics 141, Economics 311 or 312, Political Science 311, or Sociology 311) and one introductory policy course (Political Science 210, 250, or 260, Economics 201, or Sociology 211). Lecture-conference. Cross-listed in 2016–17 as Political Science 341 (renumbered as Political Science 376).
Gronke’s Dataverse: I have begun to maintain a Dataverse on which I store some datasets that are used in my research and some are intended for use by undergraduate students. If you are new to the Dataverse, you may wish to peruse the User’s Guides
Research Resources at Reed
The Department of Political Science has an extensive guide to conducting research in the “resources for majors” section of the student resources page.
Please also see the Data at Reed collection of resources.
Collecting Original Data
There are a variety of ways to conduct your own surveys. Brief guides to the main issues in survey research can be found at:
There are at least two good web-based survey programs. The well-known Survey Monkey can do most of what any student would want, especially if you get a paid subscription.
A promising new open source entrant is Lime Survey. The only hitch with Lime Survey is that you have to install a web server on your individual laptop, but this also means that you can conduct surveys any time and any where, whether or not you are attached to the web.
Using Published Data
Archives and Compendia:
The Roper Center is an archive of more than 50 years of private public opinion surveys, exit polls, health surveys, and more. The focus is on the US but there are comparative data as well. Data downloads and online analysis. Validated Reed users have full access.
ICPSR is a large archive of academic and governmental datasets covering all areas of the social and behavioral sciences. Datasets can be downloaded and analyzed online. Validated Reed users have full access.
CQ Press political reference suite may look like a collection of guides and encyclopedias, but a number of vital statistics volumes have downloadable aggregate data on elections, campaigns, presidential actions, court caseloads, the federal budget, unemployment, inflation, etc.
Harvard Election Data Archive contains data on election results, voting behavior, and electoral politics, focusing on the US. The fore data are state, county, and district level returns for all recent state and federal elections.
Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project provides an assortment of surveys and election return, most related to election administration.
Global: Outcomes, Calendars, and Other info
Politicalresources.net has information about elections and electoral systems worldwide. Click on the elections link.
Wikipedia guide to recent elections is very good.
Adam Carr archives election information and stats.
CEPPS (Consortirum for Elections and Political Process Strengthening) has a calendar and information about election systems
The Electoral Knowledge Network contains a vast amount of information and some of the best articles describing individual country election systems and legal frameworks.
The Lijphart Elections Archive has election statistics and links but has not been updated since 2003. Still an invaluable historical source.
US: registration, returns, turnout, results
Summary statistics on voter registration, turnout, and election returns are available at the individual websites of most states. In some states, individual vote history files and registration files are freely available; in other states, they must be ordered. I know of no one web site that lists all of the state websites.
CQ’s Voter Turnout volume has downloadable datasets on voter turnout
Election Assistance Commission, a Federal agency, collects county level information on voter registration, overseas and military voting, and election administration for each federal election cycle.
VTP has made some of the EAC data accessible in alternative statistical formats.
Record of American Democracy was an ambitious effort to collect all American precinct level returns, along with sociodemographic, party registration, and other variables. The data spans 1984-1990.
Comparative Study of Election Systems is an ambitious cross national study of voting and elections. Online data analysis guide is in Spanish.
The National Election Study is the premier academic survey dedicated to American elections. Also available at ISCPSR (data downloads and analysis) and SDA (online data analysis)
The Roper Center archives exit polls for presidential and congressional elections, primaries, and some state elections. Data downloads and online analysis (membership required, Reed is a member).
CQ Press Vital Stats on American Politics has a chapter on Congress with downloadable data
Vote View provides information on spatial analysis of Congressional roll call voting, including analyses of current and historical events, and downloadable datasets.
News and Information
National Journalâ€™s Congress page is a good place to hang out if you are a political junkie.
The Congressional Record has an iPad App!
Politico is the daily newspaper of DC.
Roll Call is the daily paper of Congress, but a lot of content is gated.
The CQ Political Reference Suite provides invaluable information about the workings of the Congress. Useful sources include:
- Congress and the Nation, a history of congressional actions since 1945
- Guide to Congress, a useful resource to learn about rules, procedures, and history
- Politics in America profiles every member and every district
- Guides to Political Campaigns and to Elections can help you learn about congressional campaigning
gary king’s teaching page Professor Gary King, a leader in the field of political methodology, regularly offers math refreshers and introductory and advanced level quantitative methodology courses. These courses can be taken for free and online. These are wonderful opportunities for advanced undergraduates who may wish to prepare themselves for graduate school.