The purpose of this exercise is to critically examine and evaluate empirical research in political
science, recognizing the possibility for multiple results, and draw independent conclusions.
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Please read the following instructions carefully, and make sure you understand them, before you begin on the
This assignment is due 9/20/2017, at the beginning of the class. Make sure your computer and printer are in
Review the policies enunciated in the syllabus, and especially the instructions regarding the assignments and my
expectations on written works. For those that seek to benefit from the help of the Writing Center, start your
Your paper should be typed, double-spaced for text, with all sources documented, and all tables or diagrams
clearly labeled and identified throughout the text. The suggested length is five pages.
Grading criteria: Admittedly grading in Political Science can seldom be absolutely objective. But I will grade
your assignments roughly according to the following criteria. You will receive a letter grade, a score, and
comments on your paper.
Substance (50%): satisfactory answers to all questions asked, evidence of command of literature, additional
research (if any), and ability to summarize, categorize, compare, contrast, and draw meaningful conclusions.
Presentation effectiveness (30%): good organization of the paper, logical coherence, creativity, technical
precision, statistical and/or graphical aids.
Writing (20%): clarity, economy, and style.
Read the following articles (all at Cabell Library via electronic resources):
- 1. Forum on Departmental Rankings: Much Ado About Something? PS: Political Science
and Politics XXIX(2)(June 1996): 141-167
Arthur H. Miller, Charles Tien, and Andrew Peeler, “Department Rankings: An
Alternative Approach,” PS: Political Science & Politics XXIX(4)(December 1996): 704-
Michael J. Ballard and Neil J. Mitchell, “The Good, the Better, and the Best in Political
Science,” PS: Political Science & Politics XXXI(4)(December 1998): 826-835
Write a paper to answer the following questions. Be sure you explain how you draw your
inference from these studies and provide evidence to support the inference. Construct a table to
summarize the most important information.
- What is the research question? Why is that important?
- How do the researchers study the phenomena that interest them?
- What are the competing hypotheses (models) for answering the question?
- What are the similarities and differences in concepts or variables?
- What are the similarities and differences in the sources?
Which ranking is the best or most plausible? Why? Do you have an alternative – or better –
- Arthur H. Miller, Charles Tien, and Andrew Peeler, “Department Rankings: An