Gov 62: Research Practice in Qualitative Methods

Role: Teaching Fellow, Spring 2019

Course Head: George Soroka, Harvard University

Course Description: The objectives of this course are to introduce students to the basic principles of good research design and familiarize them with the various qualitative tools that are available in the social sciences as they prepare to undertake original research for their senior thesis projects. Topics covered in Gov 62 include causal inference, comparative research design and selection bias, theoretical generalizability, and conceptualization and measurement. We also examine such methods as field and natural experiments, process tracing, archival research, interviews, and political ethnography. To better understand how to craft a good research design and how to most effectively utilize the methods covered in the course, for most of our meetings students read at least one empirical study that exemplifies the method or research design under discussion for that week. By the end of Gov 62, students produce a research prospectus that incorporates the lessons and tools covered in the course and combines several short papers they have written throughout the term. Students present this prospectus to the class at the end of the semester.

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Chris Chaky
Ph.D. Candidate in Government

I am a PhD Candidate in Government at Harvard University, where I study American politics. My main research interests are public health, criminal justice, public opinion, and urban and local politics.