Statistical models help us to understand the world. This class explores the use of models for analysis in the social sciences broadly, and in political science specifically. Does a history of slavery in a county influence contemporary political views? Does perceived demographic change impact policy preferences? Does having daughters affect a judge’s rulings? We use the R programming language, RStudio, Git and GitHub. Each student will complete a “replication” as their final project, an attempt, successful or not, to reproduce the results from a published article in the academic literature. This class provides an introduction to data science and is designed to lay the groundwork for an empirical senior thesis.

Prerequisites: An course on computer programming (Gov 1005, CS 50 or the equivalent), a course on statistics (Gov 50, Stat 104 or the equivalent) and experience with R and Git. You must have a laptop with R, RStudio and Git installed.

Logistics: Class meets from 12:45 to 2:45 on Wednesdays in K-031 in CGIS Knafel. You should be available for work with your classmates on at least one evening prior to class, presumable either Monday or Tuesday.

Course Metaphors