POLSCI 381 - Political Science Research Design
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Political Science (POLSCI)
Department: LSA Political Science
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


This course  provides an introduction for undergraduate students to the methods that political scientists (and other social scientists) use to generate and answer questions about the world around us. The goals of this course are to:

  1. provide you with the tools to evaluate critically social science research, and
  2. improve your ability to pose and answer research questions of your own.

In order to conduct political science research, you need to know how to:

  1. formulate a research question,
  2. develop hypotheses,
  3. design a research plan appropriate to test those hypotheses,
  4. collect data, and
  5. analyze that data.

In order to evaluate social science research, you need to be able to identify and constructively critique all of these stages in someone else’s research.

This class is designed to help you begin to make a transition from being solely a consumer of knowledge to being a producer of knowledge. Along the way, I hope you will become a more thoughtful, critical, skeptical, and appreciative consumer of all types of information you receive in the world around you — whether from scholarly articles, news sources, or in the course of casual conversation. You will better be able to identify problems in the research of others — and also develop a greater understanding of just how hard it is to develop good research. The analytical skills you develop in this class should help you assess the quality of information that you encounter regardless of where you go after graduation. 

This course is required for all students intending to enter the Political Science Honors concentration: by the end of the academic term, you will have produced a research proposal that, with the guidance of your advisor, may form the basis of a proposal for your Honors thesis.

Course Requirements:

The course is an intensive writing course.  The course grade will be based on weekly writing assignments, in-class projects and presentations, and a final research proposal for a senior Honors thesis.     

Intended Audience:

This class is for students who are Sophomores or Juniors with a 3.0 GPA or higher; Declared Political Science major.


POLSCI 381 - Political Science Research Design
Schedule Listing
001 (REC)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

The partner U-M / Barnes & Noble Education textbook website is the official way for U-M students to view their upcoming textbook or course material needs, whether they choose to buy from Barnes & Noble Education or not. Students also can view a customized list of their specific textbook needs by clicking a "View/Buy Textbooks" link in their course schedule in Wolverine Access.

Click the button below to view and buy textbooks for POLSCI 381.001

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

Click the button below to view historical syllabi for POLSCI 381 (UM login required)

View Historical Syllabi

CourseProfile (Atlas)

The Atlas system, developed by the Center for Academic Innovation, provides additional information about: course enrollments; academic terms and instructors; student academic profiles (school/college, majors), and previous, concurrent, and subsequent course enrollments.

CourseProfile (Atlas)