IS 296A-4 Seminar on Research Methods:

Introduction to Quantitative Methods

Basic Information


Lecture Slides


SPSS Tutorial

Time: Mon, 3:30-5:30 pm
Location: 202 South Hall

Instructor: Coye Cheshire
Office: 305A South Hall
Office Hours: Tues and Thurs 3-4

GSI: Yuri Takhteyev
Office: TBA
Office Hours: TBA
Phone number: TBA

Course Overview

The goal of this seminar is to provide students with an introduction to many different types of quantitative research methods. We begin with a focus on defining research problems, theory testing, causal inference, and basic statistics. Then, we will explore a range of research designs and methodological techniques 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, and Non-Linear Models. The course will conclude with an introduction to special topics in quantitative research methods, including Factor Analysis, Social Network Analysis, and Time-Series Forecasting. This course is intended as an introduction to many quantitative methods and research techniques, and not as a replacement for focused statistics courses.

Course Readings

All of the required course readings are available online. These readings may be updated during the semester, and all changes will be reflected on the course webpage in advance. Since this is a skills-building seminar, there is not a large amount of required reading. However, all students are encouraged to read articles and books on the 'suggested reading' list. All of the suggested readings are articles and/or books that would be used in a similar lecture course on quantitative methods. Thus, the 'suggested readings' are important for those with a strong interest in building their research and quantitative methodology skills.

Non-Required Suggested Readings

Creswell, John W. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.

Hamilton, Lawrence C. Statistics with STATA, Version 8.

Myers, Jerome L. and Arnold D. Well. Research Design and Statistical Analysis (2nd Edition).

Course Assignments

There are three assignments in this seminar. The first assignment is a short exercise about issues in research methodology. The second assignment will require students to use a statistical software package to conduct some simple statistical tests on a dataset that we will provide in class. The third assignment will be a group project (4-6 students per group), and will involve using a dataset (provided in class) to answer a few research questions of your choice. Information on each of the assignments will be distributed in advance during class.

Course Software

An important part of working with quantitative research methods involves the use of statistical software. Class examples will be done using STATA ( and SPSS ( Since SPSS is provided in the SIMS computer lab, I expect that most students will want to work with it. You are not required to purchase any statistical software for this seminar. However, I will allow you to use any statistical software package that you prefer for your assignments. A partial list of popular statistical software packages includes: