Quantitative Research Methods :: Fall 2014
Course basics
What   Quantitative Research Methods (i271b)
When   Fall 2014, Tues and Thurs, 3:30-5:00
Where   Room 210 South Hall
Instructor   Prof. Coye Cheshire (coye@ischool)
Teaching Assistant   Toshiro Nishimura (tnish@ischool)
Office hours   Coye: Thursday after class
Toshiro: Wednesday 3-4
Course description

The goal of this course is to provide students with an introduction to many different types of quantitative research methods and statistical techniques. This course will be divided into two sections: 1) methods for quantitative research and, 2) quantitative statistical techniques for analyzing data. We begin with a focus on defining research problems, theory testing, causal inference, and designing research instruments. Then, we will explore a range of statistical techniques and methods that are available for empirical research. Topics in research methods include: Primary and Secondary Data Analysis, Sampling, Survey Design, and Experimental Designs. Topics in quantitative techniques include: Descriptive and Inferential statistics, General Linear Models. The course will conclude with an introduction to special topics in quantitative research methods.

Course assignments and final exam

There are four short "lab assignments" in this course. Some of these will be completed individually; others will be completed in small groups. The assignments will be distributed during the lab sections (combined total of 30% of final grade). The final take-home exam will cover all of the major topics in the course (research methods, data management and analysis techniques, statistical analysis and interpretation). You will be able to use your own dataset on the final exam if you choose; otherwise I will make a dataset available for you. The final exam will account for 60% of the final grade. Finally, a portion of your grade (10%) will come from regular attendance, class participation, and instructor discretion. That is:

(Exact percentages subject to change)

Course readings

This course will use a combination of four textbooks, online readings and occasional handouts. You can rent the textbooks or buy them used through Amazon.com to save money. Students are expected to do the readings before each class. This is important in every class, but in a methodology course it is absolutely essential. There are parts of the lectures that will not make sense if you do not do the readings in advance.

The textbooks are:

(You only need to obtain the first book, all other readings will be posted online).

Course software

We will use R in this class. There will be a voluntary workshop during the first few weeks to get the software installed and configured on your laptop. See Using R for R-specific notes.

Mailing list

The class mailing list is i271b@ischool.berkeley.edu. If you have an iSchool account, you can subscribe yourself to the list via the iSchool Intranet.

UPDATE: If you are not affiliated with the School of Information, please email Toshiro your email address and he will manually add you.

Useful links