Working With Political Data

In this course, we consider ways to find the compelling stories that are often hidden in a sea of data. This course introduces students to the powerful R programming language and to the basics of data visualization and analysis in R. We will use real datasets to explore topics including network data (like social interactions on Facebook or trade between countries) and geographical data (like county-level election returns in the US or the spatial distribution of insurgent attacks in Afghanistan). No prior background in statistics or programming is required or expected.

Judicial Decisionmaking

Judicial Decisionmaking is a course about what influences how judges decide cases, and—accordingly—the direction of the law itself. Does it favor consumers or business, plaintiffs or defendants, governments or its citizens? And how can you, as a citizen or lawyer, use this knowledge to help clients or assist in moving the law in a direction that you prefer? We will explore these questions through the lens of both ordinary cases and also some of the more salient disputes of our time, from Obamacare to abortion to the death penalty to sexual and gender equality. The course is co-taught by a law professor and a social scientist, and will use methods of analysis drawn from both law and social science. The course is open to both law students and undergraduates.

Senior Honors I

This class is the first semester of the two-semester Senior Honors sequence in the Politics Department. During this semester you will prepare a research proposal that addresses the Thesis Proposal Guidelines attached to the course syllabus. Research proposals are typically 15-20 pages long. You will also collect the data to be used in your thesis, so that you have a finished dataset by the end of the semester. There will also be regular (generally weekly) writing and lab assignments. Completion of an approved research proposal and dataset are necessary in order to progress to the second semester of Senior Honors (Senior Honors II).

Senior Honors II

This class is the second semester of the two-semester Senior Honors sequence in the Politics Department. During this semester you will analyze your data, run additional robustness checks as needed, interpret your findings, and write your senior honors thesis. Senior honors theses are typically 35-50 pages long. You will also present your findings at the Politics/IR Honors Conference, typically held during the second week in April.  At the Honors Conference your work will be discussed by a member of the faculty of the Department of Politics. We also expect Politics Honors students to participate in the CAS Undergraduate Research Conference.