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PSCI 3300: Introduction to Political Research

Library research guide for PSCI 2300

Introduction to Methods and Data Analysis

This page is designed to provide assistance with methods and data analysis and provide you a list of office on campus that can help you write and do this section of your paper. If you need help with your research please contact the Political Science Librarian, Brea Henson.

 

Methods and Data Analysis

In political science at UNT, you are expected to use empirical quantitative methods that combine mathematics, statistics, and theory. You will be asked to complete equations and use software to produce charts, graphs, and tables that express the significance or lack thereof of the data you used to prove or disapprove a hypothesis. You may be asked to compare data to make assumptions and conclusions to answer your research question.

Methods you may use include cross-tabulation and regression and it may be useful to use software like MS Excel, IBM SPSS, and STATA to assist. 

 

What is a Data Analysis? 

Data Analysis is "the process for inspecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data with the objective of discovering useful information, arriving at conclusion, and supporting the decision making process... There are multiple facets and approaches with diverse techniques for the data analysis. The data analysis in statistics is generally divided in descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis (EDA), and confirmatory data analysis (CDA)." (PAT Research 2019)

Data  should be cleaned, with outliers and incorrect or unwanted information removed prior to the analysis. 

Using Software like MS Excel, SPSS, and STATA can be used to create the analysis.

Data Analysis Chart

PAT Research 2019. (https://www.predictiveanalyticstoday.com/data-analysis/)

Need more break down on what is involved in the analysis? Visit the PAT Research Website. 

Writing the Methods

In this section of your paper, you will describe what methods you are doing to address your research questions and answer your hypotheses. You will address each method taken step-by-step. Your writing sound repetitive. 

After you complete your methods, you will have graphs, charts, and/or tables that you will analyze in the results section of your paper. Your graphs, tables, and charts will either be included in the body of the paper or in as appendices after your references.  

Writing the Results

In this section of your paper, you will provide a narrative of the result of your methods. This will include providing narratives about the significance of the data as well as providing final percentages and other numerical values that the tables produced. You will write a well written paragraph for each table or a group of related tables. You will address how the data proved or disproved your hypotheses (remember a disproved hypotheses is not wrong) and make final statements about the data used.

Further, you should connect your data to your literature review--does the literature support your findings? Why or why not?--as well as make inferences on any discrepancies between them. It may be worthwhile to suggest additional methods that could be used to either clarify or change the results. 

 Again, these should be written step-by-step, and your writing sound repetitive. 

 

Writing the Limitations

The limitations section may not be required by your professor for this assignment, but most professionals include them before writing the conclusion. The limitations section is an acknowledgements of the limitations of the literature review and methods. It is an opportunity for you to make suggestions on how someone else may improve the work you have done or what needs to be addressed in the field for the work to have impact. This section is usually one to two paragraphs. 

 

The Conclusion

The conclusion is a summary of the theory, hypotheses, methods, data, and results. This section is usually two or more paragraphs. 

SAGE RESEARCH METHODS REFERENCE MATERIALS

SAGE Research Methods

Sage Research Methods is an great database that can help you answer all the questions you may have in order to complete this assignment. They have a tool that can help you plan your research project step-by-step as well as video tutorials and datasets that you can play with to test your skills. 

Just select what you want to do.

Sage Research Methods

SAGE Reference Materials

Need Help?

Need Help from a Person?

Unfortunately, there is very little at this point in the process that a librarian can help you with. Wee can advise on methods and writing suggestions, but assisting with the ins-and-outs of data management, statistical calculations, data analysis and interpretation, and software guidance is beyond many of our skills. Luckily, there are several places on campus that can help you in these areas...some of them also have office hours in Willis on the 2nd floor...and we can refer you to them.

 

Data and Software Help Services

  • Office of Research Consulting supports the research needs of faculty and graduate students with grants, research, dissertations, classwork and statistical understanding and is dedicated to enhancing the research atmosphere at UNT. Services include:

    • Collaborating on grant applications

    • Assisting with data analysis for funded grant projects (contact us for our schedule of fees)

    • Improving statistical understanding of students and faculty,

    • Providing seminars and support on latest developments in data analysis and research methods, and

    • Archiving publicly available national and international data.

Contact Information:

Matthews Hall, Room 313
COE-ORC@unt.edu
940-565-4414

Contact Information:

GAB, Room 535A

940-565-4066
 

Learning Center Tutoring Services

The Learning Center is proud to offer a variety of tutoring services designed to help you succeed at UNT! Our tutors answer specific questions, check that you are approaching a concept correctly, work with and offer alternative problems, and help clarify concepts. Visit the pages below to learn more:

 

Writing Services

The UNT Writing Center provides trained tutors to help undergraduate students with structure, grammar, punctuation, citation styles and more. They will teach you strategies and techniques to improve your writing for the long term. Call 940.565.2563 to schedule your appointment, or drop by Sage Hall, Room 150, or Willis Library. Learn more at the link below: 

Online Tutorials

Online Tutorials Can Help

Looking for an Online Tutorial? Try searching in LinkedIn Learning, formerly Lynda.com, or YouTube.

Additional Links

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