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Cuyamaca College National Legislatures Through Proportional Representation HW

Cuyamaca College National Legislatures Through Proportional Representation HW

Question Description

AA – Anatomy of a Journal Article

What does Journal Article Analysis Consist of?

Journal Article Analysis consists of reading journal articles and analyzing them. You are responsible for identifying twelve parts of a journal article: title, main point, question, puzzle, debate, theory, hypotheses, research design, empirical analysis, policy implications, and contribution to the discipline, and future research.

Journal Articles vary in their organization and inclusion of these twelve parts. Many articles explicitly describe all or most of these parts; however, other articles may not state a part, or may omit it entirely.

Typical Anatomy of a Journal Article in Political Science

Journal Articles, especially in the field of political science, typically have twelve parts.

  1. The Title of an article appears on the first page of the article. The Title is brief, typically no more than 5-10 words, and identifies for the reader the subject of the article.
  2. The Main Point of an article is typically found in the Abstract. An Abstract is a summary of the article which is located on the first page, after the Title. The main point may be in the Introduction of the article.
  3. The Question of an article is typically found in the Abstract. The question may be in the Introduction of the article as well.
  4. The Puzzle is a missing piece of knowledge that the article seeks to fulfill.
  5. The Debate is how scholars currently argue the subject of the article. Debates have at least two sides, and the two sides we are most familiar with are “pro” and “con”. However, debates can be more complex.
  6. The Theory is how the author thinks something works. For example, we may have a theory about how campaigns influence voters. Theories consists of constants, variables, and the relationships between variables.
  7. The Hypotheses are derived from the Theory. A hypothesis is the expectation that one variable affects another variable in a specific way.
  8. The Research Design is how the author compares the effect of the explanatory variable (X) on the outcome variable (O) in a group (G) or set of groups.
  9. The Empirical Analysis is the use of quantitative or qualitative evidence to explore whether the hypothesized relationship between two variables does indeed occur in the world.
  10. 10.The Policy Implications are how the findings of the article should influence the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, or governments.
  11. 11.The Contribution to the Discipline is how the article helps fill the missing Puzzle piece
  12. 12. Future Research offers suggestions for future research that build on the findings from the article.

JAA – Details of Analyzing Journal Articles

12 Parts

Journal Articles, especially in the field of political science, typically have twelve parts.

Title

The Title of an article appears on the first page of the article. The Title is brief, typically no more than 5-10 words, and identifies for the reader the subject of the article.

  • Titles are located at the top of the first page of a journal article
  • Titles can be informative, as they may include the primary independent variable, primary dependent variable, or question of the article

Main Point

The Main Point of an article is typically found in the Abstract. An Abstract is a summary of the article which is located on the first page, after the Title. The main point may be in the Introduction of the article.

  • Main points, while presented at the beginning of an article, are largely derived after the political scientist has completed their research. So, keep in mind that political scientists don’t start with main points, typically, but rather the main point is a result of their research process

Question

The Question of an article is typically found in the Abstract. The question may be in the Introduction of the article, as well.

  • An article can have more than one question. So, do not be surprised if you find more than one question. Keeping a list of questions is a useful way to eventually identify the primary question of the article, while also recognizing related secondary questions.

Puzzle

The Puzzle is a missing piece of knowledge that the article seeks to fulfill.

  • Puzzles are what political scientists try to solve. To solve a puzzle, a political scientist needs to have a sense of what the whole puzzle looks like. In other words, when you see the puzzle box and the image you are trying to recreate, that’s a sense of the whole puzzle. Second, a political scientist needs to know how the current pieces fit together. Imagine that the puzzle was partially complete, so we would closely examine how the pieces that make up the partial puzzle are put together. Lastly, a political scientist decides which pieces they want to add to the partially complete portion of the puzzle. In other words, they need to decide which pieces they want to pick up and then try to it in place.

Debate

The Debate is how scholars currently argue the subject of the article. Debates have at least two sides, and the two sides we are most familiar with are “pro” and “con”. However, debates can be more complex.

  • Debates in political science can be normative or positive debates. Normative debates focus on “what should be” while positive debates focus on “what is.” Most debates in political science are positive.
  • Positive debates can exist on a conceptual, operational, or measurement level.
  • Conceptual debates are were political scientists argue about a broad concept, like democracy or representation or power.
  • Operational debates focus on taking broad concepts, like democracy, and arguing how they are represented in the real world. For example, many scholars would agree that the United States is conceptually a democracy. However, some scholars would argue and operationalize the United States as a representative democracy.
  • Finally, measurement debates focus on how an operationalized concept is measured. For example, how do we measure a representative democracy? Are individuals elected to serve in national legislatures through winner-take-all a representative democracy? Or are individuals elected to serve in national legislatures through proportional representation a representative democracy?

Theory

The Theory is how the author thinks something works. For example, we may have a theory about how campaigns influence voters. Theories consists of constants, variables, and the relationships between variables.

  • Theory is used by political scientists to clearly explain their logic of the constants, variables, and relationships between variables.
  • Constants are objects that do not change. A reason for stating constants is that the world is complex, therefore it is important simplify it by “holding things constant.” In other words, stating constants lets us focus on the variables and their relationship.
  • Variables are objects that do change. Variables are typically classified into three categories: independent variable, mediating variable, and dependent variable. Independent variables are the objects that “cause” something to happen. Mediating variables are objects that “help cause” something to happen. And dependent variables are objects that are the “effect” of the “cause” and/or “helping cause.”
  • For example, your interpretation of a political actor, such as the President, may be caused by an action the President took. But your view of the action is mediated by your partisan affiliation.

Hypotheses

The Hypotheses are derived from the Theory. A hypothesis is the expectation that one variable effect another variable in a specific way.

  • Above, I described a theory about how the action of a political actors effects your interpretation of the political actors, given your partisan affiliation. Now, we could generate several hypotheses from this theory.
  • Hypothesis 1 is that if the President takes no action, then you will have no interpretation of the President
  • Hypothesis 2 is that if the President acts, then you will have a positive view of the President if you have the same partisan affiliation as the President
  • Hypothesis 3 is that if the President acts, then you will have a negative view of the President if you have a different partisan affiliation as the President.

Research Design

The Research Design is how the author compares the effect of the explanatory variable (X) on the outcome variable (O) in a group (G) or set of groups.

  • Some political scientists use notation to denote research design. Below are 4 common examples, and 2 complex examples:
    • Example 1: G O. This is a single group, observation only.
    • Example 2: G X O. This is a single group, treatment then observation.
    • Example 3: G O X O. This is a single group, observation before treatment, the treatment, then observation after treatment
    • Example 4: G X O and G _ O. This is a two-group design. Group 1 receives them treatment, then is observed. Group 2 does not receive the treatment, then observed.
    • Example 5: G O X O and G O _ O. This a two-group design. Group 1 and Group 2 are observed, then Group 1 receives the treatment while Group 2 does not receive the treatment. Finally, both Groups are observed again.
    • Example 6: G O X O _ O and G O _ O X O. This is a two-group design, known as a switching replications design. Group 1 and Group 2 are observed, then Group 1 receives the treatment, while Group 2 does not receive the treatment. Then both Groups are observed. Next, Group 1 does not re-receive the treatment, and Group 2 receives the treatment for the first time. Then both groups are observed again.

Empirical Analysis

The Empirical Analysis is the use of quantitative or qualitative evidence to explore whether the hypothesized relationship between two variables does indeed occur in the world.

  • Empirical analysis can feature quantitative, qualitative, or both types of evidence.
  • Quantitative evidence includes data that is organized in a spreadsheet
    • Political scientists using quantitative evidence conduct statistical analysis using statistical models to examine the data contained in their spreadsheet
  • Qualitative evidence is typically individual or collection of text, images, and audio in a paper or electronic document
    • Political scientists using qualitative evidence conduct content analysis or interpretation using non-theoretical or theorical framework.

Policy Implications

The Policy Implications are how the findings of the article should influence the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, or governments.

  • Policy implications are typically stated by the political scientist towards the end of an article. What the researcher is doing is predicting how their article, and its findings, would influence the behavior of individuals, groups, organizations, or governments.

Contribution to the Discipline

The Contribution to the Discipline is how the article helps fill the missing Puzzle piece.

  • Contribution to the Discipline is a statement of how the political scientists’ research helps add a puzzle piece that was missing from our current world of knowledge.

Future Research

Finally, Future Research is how the article offer suggestions for future research that build on the findings from the article.

  • Future research are suggestions for what another political scientist can do to help build on this new knowledge that has been uncovered

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