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The Essentials of Political Analysis
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The Essentials of Political Analysis

Fifth Edition
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280 pages | CQ Press

“Overall, this is the best political science research methods book I’ve seen.”

-William Field, Rutgers University

Building students’ analytic abilities and developing their statistical reasoning with new data, fresh exercises, and engaging examples, this accessible introduction to the essential elements of political analysis walks students through the basics—measuring concepts, describing variables, formulating and testing hypotheses, controlling for alternative explanations, and interpreting graphic displays, and nearly 50 practical exercises motivate them to use their new skills with confidence.

New to this edition:

  • All examples updated with current data sources
  • Treatment of visual depictions of variables and relationships and enhanced coverage of logistic regression
  • A total of 48 end-of-chapter exercises, many new or completely revised
  • More accessible discussion of spurious, additive, and interaction relationships
  • Coverage of box plots and error bar charts
  • New discussion of ways to represent probabilities in logistic regression
 
Introduction
What This Book Is About

 
Facts and Values in Perspective

 
The Scientific Approach

 
Conclusion

 
 
Chapter 1: The Definition and Measurement of Concepts
Conceptual Definitions

 
Operational Definitions

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 2: Measuring and Describing Variables
Measuring Variables

 
Describing Variables

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 3: Proposing Explanations, Framing Hypotheses, and Making Comparisons
Proposing Explanations

 
Framing Hypotheses

 
Making Comparisons

 
Graphing Relationships and Describing Patterns

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 4: Research Design and the Logic of Control
Experimental Designs

 
Controlled Comparisons

 
Three Scenarios

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 5: Making Controlled Comparisons
Cross-tabulation Analysis

 
Graphing Controlled Comparisons

 
An Example of Interaction

 
Mean Comparison Analysis

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 6: Foundations of Statistical Inference
Population Parameters and Sample Statistics

 
Random Sampling

 
The Standard Error of a Sample Mean

 
Inference Using the Normal Distribution

 
Inference Using the Student’s t-Distribution

 
What About Sample Proportions?

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 7: Tests of Significance and Measures of Association
Statistical Significance

 
Measures of Association

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 8: Correlation and Linear Regression
Correlation

 
Bivariate Regression

 
R-square

 
Dummy Variable Regression

 
Multiple Regression

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 9: Logistic Regression
The Logistic Regression Approach

 
Finding the Best Fit: Maximum Likelihood Estimation

 
Logistic Regression with Multiple Independent Variables

 
Working with Probabilities: MEMs and MERs

 
Summary

 
Key Terms

 
Exercises

 
 
Chapter 10: Thinking Empirically, Thinking Probabilistically
Thinking Empirically

 
Thinking Probabilistically

 

Supplements

Instructor Resources Site
  • Test Bank ready for copyediting in late July/early August
  • Solutions Manual ready for copyediting/typesetting now (April 2015)
  • Student Quizzes ready for copyediting in late July/early August

“With its carefully organized material, hands-on running examples, and accessible writing style, The Essentials of Political Analysis introduces readers to the foundational principles of research in Political Science in a natural and fluid fashion.  It effectively conveys to students the idea that the methods we use in Political Science research are crucial in providing answers to real world political and social questions.  The chapters on inference in particular are extremely well executed.”

Renato Corbetta
University of Alabama at Birmingham

“Overall, this is the best political science research methods book I’ve seen. It is brief yet covers the methodological basics of quantitative research design from concept development to difference of means, chi-square, and linear regression.  It is detailed, yet comprehensible.  Best of all, the companion text offers quality datasets and walk-throughs of SPSS that bring every concept here to life.  Combined, The Essentials of Political Analysis and An SPSS Companion to Political Analysis form the backbone of our undergraduate research methods teaching.”  

William Field
Rutgers University

Still the best textbook available for a short introductory course that is accessible yet not patronising by assuming that the students cannot understand mathematics.

Dr Allan Sikk
SSEES, University College London
November 19, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1


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Philip H. Pollock III

Philip H. Pollock III is professor of political science at the University of Central Florida. He has taught courses in research methods at the undergraduate and graduate levels for nearly 40 years. His main research interests are American public opinion, voting behavior, techniques of quantitative analysis, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. His recent research has been on the effectiveness of Internet-based instruction. Pollock’s research has appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Social Science Quarterly, and British Journal of Political Science. Recent scholarly publications include... More About Author

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