Research and Writing

Political Science 379W.01

Fall 2006

Dr. Waggener


Office Location:       AB1 319B

Office Phone/Email:       (936) 294-1466,

Office Hours:   Ts/T 2:00 3:30, MWF 10:00 11:30, or by appointment


Course Objectives

This course has three primary objectives. First, students will learn research and writing skills including: how to locate, evaluate, and cite electronic and printed sources; how to conduct a literature review; and how to write proposals, reports, and papers. Second, students will gain knowledge of basic research methods and designs in the social sciences. Third, students will explore the history of federal regulation of research involving human subjects.

Required Readings

Janet Buttolph Johnson and H.T. Reynolds, Political Science Research Methods . 5 th edition 2005.


Assignment       Portion of Final Grade

Take Home Exam 1       35%

Take Home Exam 2       35%

In-Class Exam         30%     

Resume   0% (students who do not complete this assignment will fail the course)


Take Home Exams

The take home exams will consist of 2 questions relevant to class readings and lectures. The take home exams will be distributed in class 2 weeks before each take home exam is due in class. Specifications for take home exams: typed, single spaced, font no larger than 12, and 3 - 5 pages. The in-class exam will consist of multiple choice questions.


Class Policies

Extra Credit

Under NO circumstances will extra credit be offered in this course.

Make Up and Late Assignments

Students may submit late assignments only if they can provide formal documentation of a medical or family emergency. Late assignments will not be accepted if students fail to provide such documentation. Any student who submits an assignment late without the required documentation will receive a zero on the assignment. Please note that slips from the University Health Center are not considered acceptable documentation, unless the slip clearly indicates that the student was too ill to attend class.



Please see for class policies regarding:

Academic Dishonesty , Classroom Rules of Conduct, Student Absences on Religious Holy Days, Students with Disabilities Policy, and Visitors in the Classroom.


SHSU Writing Center

Sam Houston Writing Center , located in Wilson 114, is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday, and 2-7 p.m. on Sunday. Writing tutors are available to help students with writing. Students can call (936) 294-3680 to schedule an appointment.



Social Science Research Designs

Aug 22 - 24     Introduction

Aug 29 31     Chapter 2: Studying Politics Scientifically

Sep 5 - 12     Chapter 3: Research Design

Sept 14 - 21     Chapter 4: The Building Blocks


September 26     Take Home Exam 1 due


Sep 2 Oct 5     Chapter 5: Conducting a Literature Review

Oct 10 - 17     Chapter 6: The Building Blocks

Oct 19 26     Chapter 7: Making Empirical Observations


October 31     Take Home Exam 2 due


Ethics and Research

Nov 2       Students must complete an online tutorial



Nov 7   Video: "EVOLVING CONCERN: Protection for Human Subjects"

Nov 9   Video: "BALANCING SOCIETY'S MANDATES: Criteria for Protocol Review"

Nov 14   "THE BELMONT REPORT: Basic Ethical Principles and Their Application "

Nov 21 24     Thanksgiving Break

Nov 28 Dec 7   In class writing activities


Dec 14 8:00 10:00   In class exam and submission of resume