The Political Science Toolbox: A Research Companion to American Government

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Overview

The Political Science Toolbox serves as a bridge between research methods classes and student research, making it a valuable supplement for an applied research methods class, as well as a useful supplement for introduction to American government courses or introduction to political science courses. Moreover, students completing honors papers, capstone assignments, or any substantial research projects in the field of American government will find the ideas and guidance provided in this work to be invaluable.

About the Author:
Stephen E. Frantzich is professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy

About the Author:
Howard R. Ernst is associate professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy and senior scholar at University of Virginia's Center for Politics

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Editorial Reviews

CHOICE
Recommended.
— R. Heineman, Alfred University
Choice
Recommended.
— R. Heineman, Alfred University
Bruce Larson
Finally-an undergraduate American Government text that fuses research design and substantive knowledge! Coherently integrating the study of American Government with social science analysis, the Frantzich and Ernst text teaches students how to do social science research in American Government. The Political Science Toolbox is an outstanding resource for American Government instructors interested in showing students how to produce knowledge about American Government rather than merely consume it.
Larry J. Sabato
The Political Science Toolbox is a fantastic new resource for students of American government. This one-of-a-kind text teaches students about American government by involving them in political inquiry. The work blends the substance of American politics with the tools of political science, and does it at a level that is well suited for undergraduates. Well-written and thoughtfully organized, the work is destined to become an indispensable resource for students. I wish it had been available when I was in college!
Zach Messitte
The Political Science Toolbox is a breakthrough text book that will benefit students and professors of American government. It is rare to find a text that can both anchor an introductory politics course and explain the complexity of the science of politics without dumbing-down the critical material. The Toolbox combines the modern — by making use of useful Internet links - with the traditional — by emphasizing history, theory and methodology. It is much more than a introductory text to political science; It is the kind of book that students will use again and again throughout their college careers.
CHOICE - R. Heineman
Recommended.
John Ishiyama
This is a very unique, and very useful book. It provides a user-friendly and practical guide for undergraduate students to access resources that will assist them in conducting research. This enhances their ability to engage in self directed learning, or, in other words, helps students "learn how to fish".
It is likely to become an indispensable supplement for any introduction to American government or politics class.
Bruce A. Larson
Finally-an undergraduate American Government text that fuses research design and substantive knowledge! Coherently integrating the study of American Government with social science analysis, the Frantzich and Ernst text teaches students how to do social science research in American Government. The Political Science Toolbox is an outstanding resource for American Government instructors interested in showing students how to produce knowledge about American Government rather than merely consume it.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742547629
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/7/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen E. Frantzich is professor of political science at the U.S. Naval Academy where he was selected as the outstanding professor in 1990, runner-up as outstanding researcher in 2001 and as one of the first USNA Teaching Fellows in 2002. He is the author of over a dozen books, most recently Citizen Democracy: Citizen Activists in a Cynical Age (2008) and Founding Father: How C-span's Brian Lamb Changed Politics In America (2008). Long a practitioner of judicious use of new technology in teaching, he has won awards from the American Political Science Association, C-SPAN, and a variety of publishers. Howard R. Ernst is professor of political science at the United States Naval Academy and Senior Scholar at University of Virginia's Center for Politics. He teaches and researches in the areas of U.S. Government and Constitutional Development, Research Methods, Elections, and Environmental Politics. He is the co-editor of the Encyclopedia of American Political Parties and Elections (2007) and author of Chesapeake Bay Blues: Science, Politics, and the Struggle to Save the Bay (2003). As a Senior Scholar at the Center for Politics, Dr. Ernst advises the institute on issues related to electoral politics, environmental politics, and civic engagement.

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Table of Contents


List of Skill Boxes     xv
Preface     xvii
Introduction: Thinking Like a Political Scientist     1
The Science of Political Analysis     1
What Makes Political Science a "Science"?     2
Count It, Interpret It, and Feel It     3
Thinking in Terms of Variables and Causal Relationships     4
Standing on the Shoulders of Others: The Literature Review     5
Thinking in Terms of Hypotheses     6
Types of Academic Assignments     7
Writing a Major Research Paper     8
Making Use of Summary Tables     11
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due     13
Types of Plagiarism     14
The Case against Plagiarism     14
Sources That Will Help You Understand the Research Process     15
Resources for Citing Sources and Avoiding Plagiarism     15
The Founding Era     17
The Structure of the U.S. Constitution and the Intentions of the Founders     17
The Basic Structure of the U.S. Constitution     17
The Constitutional Amendment Process     19
Composition of the National Government     20
Key Governing Principles Embodied in the U.S. Constitution     20
Basic Goals of theConstitution     23
Key Constitutional Compromises     24
Comparative Perspective     26
Enduring Structural Questions and How to Research Them     27
Idea Generator: A Sample of Structural Questions Related to the Constitution     28
Participants     32
Who Were the Framers of the U.S. Constitution?     32
Comparative Perspective: Federalists versus Anti-Federalists     34
The Federalist Papers     35
Enduring Questions about the Framers and How to Research Them     37
Idea Generator: A Sample of Additional Questions Related to the Framers     38
Context and Performance     44
Important Antecedents to the U.S. Constitution     44
Historical Development of the Constitution     49
Enduring Contextual Questions and How to Research Them     50
Idea Generator: A Sample of Contextual Questions Related to the Constitution     52
Secondary Sources That Will Help You Get Started     54
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     54
In Their Own Words: Primary Sources     56
Where to Find It     56
Congress     59
The Structure and Intention of Congress     59
Constitutional Basis      60
Goals and Intentions     60
Congress in Comparative Perspective     65
Enduring Structural Questions and How to Research Them     66
Idea Generator: Understanding Congress's Structure     70
Participants in Congress     72
Who Are the Participants and How Were They Elected?     72
Congressional Demographics in Comparative Perspective     74
Enduring Questions about Participants and How to Research Them     74
Idea Generator: The Causes and Consequences of Congress's Demographic Mix     79
Congressional Context and Performance     80
Historical Development     81
Public Support and Expectations-What Does the Public Want Congress to Do?     81
Congress at Work     83
Enduring Contextual and Performance Questions and How to Research Them     84
Idea Generator: Congress at Work     86
Major Data Sources on Congress     86
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     87
Where to Find It     88
Taking Action-Contacting and Influencing Congress     92
The Presidency and the Bureaucracy     95
The Structure and Intention of the Presidency and the Bureaucracy     95
Constitutional Basis and Extraconstitutional Roles     95
Goals and Intentions     97
Comparative Perspective: Presidents versus Prime Ministers     98
Enduring Structural Questions and How to Research Them     99
Idea Generator: Presidential Power and Roles     105
Participants     106
Who Are the Presidential and Bureaucratic Participants and Why Are They There?     106
Comparative Perspective     107
Enduring Questions about the Personnel of the Presidency and the Bureaucracy     109
Idea Generator: Presidents and Bureaucrats?     110
Context and Performance of the Presidency and the Bureaucracy     112
Historical Development     112
Public Support and Expectations     112
The President and Bureaucracy at Work     113
Enduring Questions about the Context and Performance of the Presidency and How to Research Them     117
Idea Generator: Evaluating Presidential and Bureaucratic Performance     123
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     124
In Their Own Words: Primary Sources     125
Where to Find It     125
Taking Action-Contacting and Influencing the President and the Bureaucracy     127
The Federal Judiciary     129
The Structure and Function of the Federal Judiciary     129
Constitutional Basis     129
Goals and Intentions     131
Comparative Perspective     132
Enduring Structural Questions and How to Research Them     132
Idea Generator: How the Courts Are Structured     134
Participants in the Judicial Process     135
Who Are the Participants and Why Are They There?     135
Comparative Perspective     137
Enduring Questions about the Participants and How to Research Them     140
Idea Generator: Who Serves on the Courts and How Do They Get There?     141
Context and Performance of the Courts     142
Historical Development     142
Public Support     143
The Judiciary at Work     144
Enduring Questions on the Context and Performance of the Courts and How to Research Them     145
Idea Generator: Judging the Performance of Judges     148
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     149
Where to Find It     149
Taking Action-Contacting and Influencing the Courts     151
State and Local Government     153
The Structure of American Federalism     153
The Constitutional Relationship between State and Federal Governments     153
The Relationship between State and Local Governments     154
Types of State Governments     155
Types of Local Governments     158
American Federalism: Goals and Intentions of the Founders     160
Comparative Perspective     161
Enduring Structural and Institutional Questions and How to Research Them     161
Idea Generator: Structural and Institutional Questions Related to Federalism     163
Participants     165
Governors     165
Legislatures     165
Judges     165
Enduring Questions about the Participants     169
Idea Generator: Additional Questions Related to State-Level Participants     171
Context and Performance     173
Historical Development of American Federalism     173
The Historical Development of Home Rule     176
The Decline of Political Machines and Party Bosses     176
State and Local Governments at Work     179
Enduring Contextual Questions and How to Research Them     179
Idea Generator: A Sample of Additional Contextual Questions Related to State and Local Politics     180
Secondary Sources That Will Help You Get Started     183
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     183
Where to Find It     184
The Media     187
The Structure and Function of the Media     187
Constitutional and Legal Basis     187
Goals and Intentions of the Media     191
Comparative Perspective     193
Enduring Structural Questions about the Media and How to Research Them     193
Idea Generator: The Role of the Media in Society     195
Participants     197
The Media Players     197
Enduring Questions about the Participants and How to Research Them     199
Idea Generator: Who Are the Media Players?     203
Context and Performance of the Media     204
Historical Development     204
Public Support and Expectations     205
The Media at Work     205
Enduring Questions on the Context and Performance of the Media and How to Research Them     206
Idea Generator: How Well Does the Media Mediate?     210
Secondary Sources That Will Help You Get You Started     211
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     211
Where to Find It     211
Taking Action-Contacting and Influencing the Media     214
Presenting Your Findings      216
Political Parties and Interest Groups     217
The Structure and Intention of Political Parties and Interest Groups     217
Constitutional and Legal Basis     217
Goals and Intentions     220
Recent Changes in Campaign Laws That Influence Parties and Interest Groups     222
Comparative Perspective     223
Enduring Structural and Institutional Questions and How to Research Them     225
Idea Generator: Structural Questions Related to Political Parties and Interest Groups     227
Participants     231
Who Are the Political Party and Interest Group Participants and Why Are They There?     231
Comparative Perspective     234
Enduring Questions about Political-Party and Interest-Group Participants and How to Research Them     235
Idea Generator: Additional Questions Related to Political-Party and Interest-Group Participants     237
Context and Performance     242
Historical Development of Political Parties and Interest Groups     242
Parties and Interest Groups at Work     243
Red States versus Blue States Reconsidered     247
Enduring Contextual Questions about Interest Groups and Political Parties and How to Research Them     249
Idea Generator: Additional Contextual Questions Related to Interest Groups and Political Parties     250
Secondary Sources That Will Help You Get Started     253
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     253
Where to Find It     255
Elections and Voting Behavior     259
The Structure and Intention of Elections     259
Constitutional and Legal Basis     259
Goals and Intentions     261
Rules Governing the Funding of Political Campaigns     262
Comparative Perspective     264
Enduring Structural Questions and How to Research Them     264
Idea Generator: A Sample of Additional Structural Questions Related to Elections     267
Participants     270
Who Are the Participants and Why Are They There?     271
Comparative Perspective     273
Enduring Questions about the Participants and How to Research Them     274
Idea Generator: A Sample of Additional Questions Related to Electoral Participants     276
Context and Performance     280
Historical Development of Campaign Coverage and Polling     280
Elections at Work: Contextual Factors That Matter     283
Enduring Contextual Questions and How to Research Them     286
Idea Generator: A Sample of Additional Contextual Questions Related to Elections     288
Secondary Sources That Will Help You Get Started     289
Original Research That Will Impress Your Professor     289
Where to Find It     290
Taking Action-Acting and Influencing     291
Glossary     293
Index     311
About the Authors     323
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