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An Emphasis on Causality. From the very first chapter the authors train students to distinguish between the concepts of “correlation” and “causation” as they examine political phenomena, helping turn them into good critical thinkers and more thoughtful citizens.
“How Do We Know?” In every chapter, this unique feature hooks students with a provocative, important political question related to that chapter’s topic and then schools them in the techniques political scientists use to answer it. Each box provides context for – and underscores the importance of – the question, highlights the means and challenges of answering it, and ends with a summary on what conclusions social scientists have reached.
Comparative Perspective. Substantive comparative examples are seamlessly woven throughout the narrative of each chapter. These revealing illustrations deepen students’ perspective by shedding light on our own system of government in the context of other countries. Throughout, the examples help students see how governmental structures influence political outcomes and the choices of policymakers.
Political Culture Emphasis. Chapter 2, “Political Culture,” sets the stage for the book’s emphasis on how Americans’ shared political culture—our prizing of individualism, democracy, and liberty, respect for property, and religious rights—influences our politics and government.
Case Studies. Integrated throughout, these high-interest, in-depth examples apply the ideas developed in the book to real world events, bringing abstract concepts to life and making them concrete. Each Case Study concludes with “Thinking Critically” questions that help students understand, apply, and synthesize key points.
Section Headings as Complete Sentences. Headings and subheadings throughout the text take the form of complete sentences, giving students a clear and complete snapshot of the concepts and key points about to be discussed. Together, the headings form a précis that can also be used as a study and review tool.
Study Assists. Key terms are boldfaced and appear with definitions in the margin, allowing students to review important concepts with ease. Key terms are also found at the end of each chapter and in the glossary.
Innovative, Tested Interior Design. The clean, inviting interior design was developed and tested to accomplish two important goals: (1) to engage today’s visually-oriented students; (2) to keep students’ attention trained on key concepts and themes without distracting them with excessive boxes or “bells-and-whistles”. The most important ideas are easily located in the narrative and not relegated to – or obscured by – sidebars.
A full color photo and art program. The text’s clean, open layout and colorful, evocative art and photo program have been carefully developed and tested to amplify student learning and enrich the their understanding of the written word on the page.