Political Science 379

Problems in International Relations:

Conducting Empirical Research in International Relations

Spring 2005

Mr. Stoll

MWF 1:00 -  1:50
BL 123 

Office: 202 BB, x3362

Office Hours:

  • Tu 1:00 - 2:00
  • We 11:00 - 11:30
  • Fr 2:00 - 3:00
    or by appointment



    Political Science 379 is a course whose topic changes from year to year.  This year the topic is conducting quantitative research in International Relations.  The objective of the course is to improve your ability to carry out quantitative research in international relations.  As you will discover, in order to do this type of research you must learn - and practice.  This course is designed to introduce you to the set of skills necessary to learn this craft.  You will not do a research paper in this course.  You will not even put together a research design.  Instead, through a series of assignments, you will practice various aspects of the research process. At the end of the course, you will be in a better position to conduct this type of research in a 400-level seminar.

    This is not a course in statistics, but you will read and discuss a number of pieces of work that use statistics.  Consequently, you should have already taken Poli 395 or an equivalent course.


  • 70% Written assignments
  • 15% Class participation
  • 15% Final assignment 

    There will be a number of assignments throughout the term (somewhere between 7 and 10). Generally you will be given 5 days to do each of these assignments. The final assignment will be a bit more substantial and you will be given two weeks to do it (it will be due on the last day of class).

    Failure to complete all the assignments will result in a failing grade for the course.

    In order for you to get the most out of this class, you will have to participate in class discussions. This represents 15 percent of your grade and chronic failure to participate will hurt you.

    If you wish to register a complaint about a grade, you must observe the following procedures:

    1. You have 1 class week from the time the answer key for a piece of work is available to lodge a complaint.
    2. Before you submit the work to be re-graded, check the answer guide (available on the bookshelf to the left of Dr. Stoll's office).
    3. Turn in the work to the regrade box (the box is labeled "Stoll To Be Regraded") that is on the bookshelf to the left of Dr. Stoll's office. Do not put any marks on the work to be regraded. Instead, on a separate piece of paper, indicate what question(s) you wish to be regraded.
    4. Dr. Stoll will re-grade only the part(s) you request. Your new grade may be higher, lower, or the same as the original grade.


    The following books have been ordered for the course:

    We will reading virtually all of both of the required books. For your own sake, please make sure you have access to the latest edition of each book.

    The following book has also been ordered, but is only recommended, not required:

    Other Class Materials

    Powerpoint slides on decision theory and backwards induction. Discussed in lecture, Friday February 4. Source: Bueno de Mesquita, Bruce. 2003. ch. 3. Christopher Columbus and International Relations. Principles of International Politics. Washington, DC: CQ Press, pp. 82-113.


    Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments or accommodations is requested to contact me as soon as possible, preferably during the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. Students with disabilities should also contact Disability Support Services, room 122 in the Ley Student Center (713-348-5841;adarice@rice.edu).