POLI 469: Citizens and Democracy
What do American people think of the most contested issues facing our society today and how have those opinions changed over time? Furthermore, how do people around the democratized world think about these same issues, issues like abortion, immigration, income inequality, capital punishment, the role of science in our lives, and environmental protection? Finally, how satisfied are people with their own democracies and with their own lives?
The ambition of this special sessions course is to give students an opportunity to study publicly available public opinion data from the United States and around the world to understand how people think about important and highly controversial topics that are facing our societies. It is also an opportunity for students to learn about or apply existing skills in quantitative data analysis. But don't worry if you haven't had any formal training in statistics. No background in statistical analysis required. As such, the course is open to everyone, both those who have had a background in statistics and those who are new to statistical analysis.
There is no central text for this course. After I provide a brief introduction to the types of basic statistical analysis we will utilize, we will treat each issue area listed above as a course module. For each module, there will be short readings and/or videos to watch, a lecture (by me) about the topic, and short homework assignments, including 1-paged reaction and analysis papers and problem sets based on data. By the end of the course, it is hoped you will improve your skills in writing, critical reasoning, and data analysis and interpretation.