Thinking Like A Political Scientist
There are a plethora of books that aim to teach the research methods needed for political science. Thinking Like a Political Scientist stands out from them in its conviction that students are better served by learning a handful of core lessons well rather than trying to memorize hundreds of often statistical definitions. Short and concise, the book has two main parts, Asking Good Questions and Generating Good Answers. In the first section, one chapter each is devoted to the three fundamental questions in political science: who cares?, what happened?, and why?. These take up, among many other topics, crafting a literature review, creating hypotheses, measuring concepts, and the difference between correlation and causation. The second section of the book has chapters about choosing a research design, choosing cases, working with written documents, and working with numbers. All of these are essential skills for undergraduates to have when reading published work and conducting their own research. Every chapter ends with several exercises where students can read examples from published work and develop their own skills as researchers. Finally, unlike most research methods books, Christopher Howard s sprinkles humor and surprising analogies throughout.