Course Descriptions & Syllabi

Course Descriptions & Syllabi

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Note: some or all of the courses in the subjects marked as "Transfer" can be used towards a transfer degree: Associate of Science and Arts or Associate of Engineering Science at DACC. Transferability for specific institutions and majors varies. Consult a counselor for this information.

Areas of Study | | POLI130 syllabus

COURSE TITLE:Principles of Political Science
DIVISION:Liberal Arts
IAI CODE(S): S5 903

An introduction to the principles and methods of political science, focusing on the nature and development of political science as a discipline, and the various ways of analyzing the political process and institutions.
Place into ENGL101.

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • develop a working knowledge of
    • how we came to think about politics
    • the research skills that are necessary to handle the information we collect about political phenomena

  1. Part I
    • Module 1
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read pg. 1- middle 7
    • Module 2
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read pg. 1- middle 7
    • Module 3
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donavan pg. 13-middle 33
    • Module 4
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 3
    • Module 5
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 3
  2. Part II
    • Module 6
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 6
    • Module 7
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 6
    • Module 8
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 5
    • Module 9
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, Read chap. 5
    • Module 10
      • Assignment: Hoover/Donovan, chap. 5
  3. Part III and IV of Principles of Political Science
      • You are required to write a 4-6 page research paper in the course
      • The research paper MUST use quantitative methods, though qualitative techniques may be used as well
      • The research design includes your bibliography research question, literature review, and variables and hypothesis
      • The final draft includes the research design AND data analysis, qualitative tests, and conclusions
      • Writing a research paper for political science is very similar to writing a research paper for most other disciplines. The format and structure are nearly identical. The structure typically includes the following elements
        1. 1. Title/ Introduction
          • in this section, the problem to be discussed is introduced, as well as the research question
          • You explain the issue and why it may be of interest and importance to the reader
          • Let’s say you want to know the connection between economic conditions and voter turnout. In this section, you would talk about in a general sense the importance of knowing the answer to your research question: “How do economic conditions affect voter turnout since 1990?”
        2. Literature review
          • used to discuss what previous researchers have found
          • This allows you to point out the strengths and weaknesses of previous research and further validates why your paper is of importance
          • You would have also hypothesized in the literature review that economic conditions affect voter turnout in a particular way
        3. Methodology
          • in this section, you discuss just exactly how you plan on answering the research question
          • For example, if your research question is: How do economic conditions affect voter turnout, you would want to explain how you measure economic conditions (possibly by measuring the growth in GDP, increase in wages, level of inflation, employment rates, etc) and how you measure voter turnout (usually a percentage of voting age population)
        4. Results
          • in this section you present your data and the statistical tests you have run on that data
          • Using the economic conditions effect on voter turnout example again, you would have a chart displaying the economic conditions data (based on what you chose in the Methodology section), and a chart on voter turnout
          • You would then present a table that involves the statistical tests you have run to determine the nature, direction, and strength of the relationship between your variables
        5. Conclusions
          • in this final section, you provide an answer to your research question
          • Did economic conditions matter to voter turnout, and if so, in what way? You would also mention any potential weaknesses to your study, and approaches to further studies
      • Sometimes two of these categories will be morphed together, but that is more atypical than representative of writing in the social and hard sciences
  4. Part III, Steps 1-3 of the research paper
    1. In this section of the course, you will be asked to write a research paper in political science. To assist in this process, please identify the five parts of a research paper in Appendix A and Appendix B of The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking
    2. Notice how each section builds upon the prior section with the sole purpose of answering the research question
    3. In part III, you will need to:
      1. Develop a research question and write the Introduction
      2. Conduct and write a literature review
      3. Develop a methodology
    4. IMPORTANT!!! This section is difficult and probably confusing to some of you. Don’t be discouraged AND be sure to throw ideas to me. This course is NOT meant for you to “go it alone,” so don’t even try. You will need help in this portion of the course, so don’t hesitate to contact me
  5. Part IV, Steps 4-5 of the research paper
    1. Gather, collect, and then present the data in this section of your paper. Run appropriate statistical tests on the data
    2. Provide the reader with your conclusions, the importance of your conclusions, any weaknesses of the study, and suggestions for future research
    3. Ditto point D above!!!

Hoover, Kenneth and Todd Donovan. The Elements of Social Scientific Thinking, 11th ed. 2014. Thomson/Wadsworth.

See bookstore website for current book(s) at

10 module assignments   1000 points
Research design first draft 250 points
Research design Final draft 250 points
Research paper first draft 250 points
Research paper Final draft 250 points

Total 2000 points

Grades will be assigned based upon the following percentages, with the percentage indicating the lowest acceptable total for that grade:

A- 90%
B- 80%
C- 70%
D- 60%
F- Below 60%


Membership in the DACC community brings both rights and responsibility. As a student at DACC, you are expected to exhibit conduct compatible with the educational mission of the College. Academic dishonesty, including but not limited to, cheating and plagiarism, is not tolerated. A DACC student is also required to abide by the acceptable use policies of copyright and peer-to-peer file sharing. It is the student’s responsibility to become familiar with and adhere to the Student Code of Conduct as contained in the DACC Student Handbook. The Student Handbook is available in the Information Office in Vermilion Hall and online at:

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the Testing & Academic Services Center at 217-443-8708 (TTY 217-443-8701) or stop by Cannon Hall Room 103. Please speak with your instructor privately to discuss your specific accommodation needs in this course.

Fall 2018

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