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Week 1: Introduction

Tuesday, 8/21/18 through Friday, 8/24/18

Welcome to Political Science 4781: Data Analysis in Political Science I. This week we're talking about the basics of data analysis as an approach to answering important questions and getting started with the program R, which we'll be using all semester long.  

Link: Week 1 Study Guide

Read This: 

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Download R and RStudio (instructions in Lecture 5)

  • Complete Lab A

  • Work through exercises 1.6, 1.8, and 1.16 in OpenIntro Statistics (from the end-of-chapter exercises; chapter 1 exercises start on pg. 55 of the textbook)

  • Complete Quiz 1 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday 8/24)

 
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Week 2: Understanding & Describing Data

Monday, 8/27/18 through Friday 8/31/18

Welcome to Week 2! This week we'll consider numerical and categorical data in a bit more depth. We are particularly focused on understanding, describing, and visually representing different distributions of data. 

Link: Week 2 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 1.6-1.8

  • Wheelan, chapters 2 and 3

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Complete Lab B

  • Work through exercises 1.44, 1.56, and 1.66 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Homework 1 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday, 8/31)

 
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Week 3: Probability

Tuesday, 9/3/18 through Friday, 9/7/18

Welcome to Week 3! This week we dive into the basics of probability, and consider two common types of distributions: the Normal and Binomial probability distributions. 

Link: Week 3 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 2.1-2.2, 3.1-3.2, & 3.4

  • Wheelan, chapters 5 and 5.5

 
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Week 4: Statistical Inference I

Monday, 9/10/18 through Friday, 9/14/18

Welcome to Week 4! This week we are beginning our exploration of statistical inference. We'll discuss sampling distributions, learn about the crucial Central Limit Theorem, and introduce confidence intervals. 

Link: Week 4 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 4.1-4.2 & 2.4

  • Wheelan, chapters 4 & 7

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Complete Lab D

  • Work through exercises 4.4, 4.12, and 4.16 in OpenIntro Statistics

 
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Week 5: Statistical Inference II

Monday, 9/17/18 through Friday, 9/21/18

 Welcome to Week 5! This week we are continuing our discussion of statistical inference by exploring the hypothesis testing framework, and looking at two important types of errors in hypothesis tests: Type I and Type II errors. We also will consider how sample size affects our use of the Central Limit Theorem.

Link: Week 5 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 4.3-4.4

  • Wheelan, chapter 8

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Complete Lab E

  • Work through exercises 4.24, 4.30, and 4.32 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Quiz 3 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday 9/21)

 
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Week 6: More Statistical Inference

Monday, 9/24/18 through Friday, 9/28/18

Welcome to Week 6! This week we’re wrapping up our discussion of the foundations of statistical inference and hypothesis testing with a quick overview of how we test hypotheses about sample statistics other than the mean. We also briefly discuss the difference between a statistically significant result and a practically significant result.

Link: Week 6 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Section 4.5

  • Wheelan, chapter 9

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Work through exercises 4.44 and 4.48 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Homework 2 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday, September 28)

    Note: no quiz or lab assignment this week

 
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Week 7: Midterm

Monday, 10/1/18 through Friday, 10/5/18

 Welcome to Week 7! Your only assignment this week is to study for and complete the Midterm Exam for this course.

Do This: 

  • Complete the Midterm Exam on Carmen. The exam is available starting at 6:00 A.M. on Wednesday, 10/3, and closing at 11:59 PM on Friday, 10/5. Once you begin the exam, you’ll only have 90 minutes to complete it.

Study Tips:

  • Review quizzes 1, 2, and 3, and make sure you understand any questions you answered incorrectly. 

  • Review the key concepts introduced in lectures and in the assigned reading. The weekly study guides for this course include a reading guide for the OpenIntro Statistics reading, to help you focus your attention on the core concepts. 

  • Recommended exercises from the textbook are suggested in each week’s study guide, and the answers to those exercises can be found in the back of the book. Working through those exercises and checking your answers can be a good way to make sure you understand important concepts. 

  • Make note of any important formulas used in textbook exercises, lectures, etc. 

  • The hypothesis testing approach is something we emphasize strongly in the course. Review what we've covered about this approach so far, and make sure you understand both the calculation steps to do a hypothesis test, and how we make inferences based on the results of the test. Be sure you understand how to use the normal probability table, how to work with z-scores, how to interpret p-values, and what critical values are.

 
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Week 8: Midterm Review & Survey Research

Monday, 10/8/18 through Wednesday, 10/10/18

Fall Break is Thursday, 10/11 through Friday 10/12; no classes or office hours.

Welcome to Week 8! This week we’re looking at applied survey research, discussing how we take samples from a population, and how our results are affected when we have biased samples. Aside from sampling bias, we also discuss response bias and nonresponse bias. The reading assignment from Freedman et. al discusses important principles for conducting good survey research, with lots of examples.

Link: Week 8 Study Guide

Read This: 

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Complete Lab F

  • Work through assigned exercises (see Study Guide)

 
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Week 9: Research Design

Monday, 10/15/18 through Friday, 10/19/18

 Welcome to Week 9! This week we’re exploring what it means to find a causal relationship between variables. We’ll also cover how different types of research designs (experiments and observational studies) have different strengths and weaknesses, and have different implications for our ability to find causal relationships.

Link: Week 9 Study Guide

Read This: 

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Work through assigned exercises (see PDF linked here and available on Carmen; no exercises from OpenIntro assigned)

  • Complete Quiz 4 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday 10/19)

 
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Week 10: Inference for Numerical Variables

Monday, 10/22/18 through Friday, 10/26/18

Welcome to Week 10! This week we begin looking at how we can use numerical data to make inferences. We are starting by comparing two groups of subjects – for instance, people in a treatment group vs. people in a control group.

We also discuss the t distribution this week, which we use when making inferences with small samples.

Link: Week 10 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 5.1-5.3

  • Wheelan, chapter 6

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Complete Lab G

  • Work through exercises 5.30, 5.32, & 5.38 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Quiz 5 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday 10/26)

 
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Week 11: Inference for Numerical & Categorical Variables

Monday, 10/29/18 through Friday, 11/2/18

Welcome to Week 11! We’re diving into the analysis of categorical data this week, looking at how we test hypotheses about proportions, and introducing the chi-square test for goodness of fit. We’re also continuing to discuss the analysis of numerical data by briefly looking at Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) tests.

 Link: Week 11 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, Sections 5.5, 6.1-6.3

 
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Week 12: Regression Part I

Monday, 11/5/18 through Friday, 11/9/18

 Welcome to Week 12! This week we introduce an important statistical model: the least squares regression model, which identifies linear relationships between variables. We’ll start by considering the simplest version of this model, where we look for the linear relationship between just two variables.

Link: Week 12 Study Guide

Read This: 

  • OpenIntro Statistics, chapter 7

  • Wheelan, chapter 11

Watch This: 

Do This:

  • Work through exercises 7.4, 7.8, & 7.36 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Lab I

  • Complete Quiz 6 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday, 11/9)

 
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Week 13: Regression Part II

Tuesday, 11/13/18 through Friday, 11/16/18

This week we’ll continue our discussion of least squares regression, extending our discussion to multiple regression, which allows us to include many independent variables in one model. This allows us to ``control'' for possible confounding variables which helps us better understand the relationship between any two variables. We’ll also consider how we can compare models to one another and how we decide which variables to include in a multiple linear regression model. 

Link: Week 13 Study Guide

Read This:

  • OpenIntro Statistics, sections 8.1-8.3

  • Wheelan, chapter 12

Watch This: 

Do This:

  • Work through exercises 8.2, 8.4, & 8.8 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Lab J

  • Complete Quiz 7 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday, 11/16)

 
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Week 14: Thanksgiving Break

No course content this week. Have a great break!

 
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Week 15: Logistic Regression

Monday, 11/26/18 through Friday, 11/30/18

Welcome to week 15! This is our final week of course content. This week we’re wrapping up our discussion of regression by considering how we model binary (dichotomous) outcomes. While linear regression techniques are appropriate when our outcome (DV) is continuous, we’ll need a different approach when we have a dependent variable that only takes on two values, 0 and 1. That technique is logistic regression, and it’s our focus this week.

Note that next week you’ll need to take the final exam for the course on Carmen. The exam will be available from 6:00 AM on Wednesday, 12/5 until 11:59 PM on Friday, 12/7. Once you start taking the exam, you’ll have 90 minutes to finish it.

Link: Week 15 Study Guide

Read This:

  • OpenIntro Statistics, section 8.4

  • Wheelan, chapter 13 and conclusion

Watch This: 

Do This: 

  • Work through exercises 8.16 & 8.18 in OpenIntro Statistics

  • Complete Lab K

  • Complete Homework 4 on Carmen (due 11:59 PM on Friday, 11/30)

 
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Week 16: Final Exam

The final exam will be available from 6:00 AM on Wednesday, 12/5 until 11:59 PM on Friday, 12/7. Once you start taking the exam, you’ll have 90 minutes to finish it.

The exam is comprehensive, covering material from the entire semester. However, the exam does emphasize material we’ve covered in the second half of the course. 

Here are a handful of topics you may want to focus on:

  • The hypothesis testing framework, and how the new tools we’ve introduced in the second half of the course fit into that framework.

  • Experimental and observational research designs, the benefits and drawbacks of each.

  • Correlation (what it means, positive vs. negative correlation, weak vs. strong correlation)

  • Linear and logistic regression models, when we use them, and how to interpret regression results (tables of results, regression coefficients, p-values/significance, etc.).

  • Types of bias in statistical tests/models.

  • The meaning of confidence intervals.

  • Hypothesis tests using t-statistics and p-values. 

Useful strategies for studying include:

  • Reviewing your quiz submissions from the semester, and making sure you understand any of the questions you answered incorrectly.

  • Similarly, reviewing the midterm exam and any feedback on questions you answered incorrectly.

  • Reviewing the main points covered in lectures and each week's reading assignments (you may find the reading guides in the weekly study guides useful).

  • Revisiting the required and recommended exercises in each week's study guide.

Happy studying, and good luck!