Dec 03, 2023  
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

PLSC 309: Religion and Research Methods in Comparative Politics

(1 unit)
Prerequisites:  PLSC 100 and (PLSC 102 or PLSC 103).
This course intends to expose students to two overlapping concerns: 1) what is the influence of religion on politics, and 2) what kind of research methods do political scientists use to study this relationship? This class is also meant to sharpen students’ analytical skills by challenging them to think systematically about social science methods and how they relate to religion and politics. Since social scientists use different types of analytical models (e.g., game theory, statistical modeling) to simulate how religion affects politics, students in this class will pay special attention to the following concerns: 1) how was empirical evidence obtained and the extent to which the data is both internally and externally valid; 2) does the resulting model allow us to make a prediction about future outcomes, and how accurate these predictions are; 3) what are the limits of modeling in social sciences; and finally 4) in what ways modeling can enhance or inhibit the development of knowledge in social and applied sciences. Although a significant part of the class will focus on the role of religion in America, the in-depth exploration of the subject will also expose students to scholarship examining how religion matters in different cultural and political settings. Tatarczyk