Teaching with Data: Test Hypotheses about Political Scandals

Resources & Strategies for Faculty Teaching Undergraduates

Test Hypotheses about Political Scandals

Faculty Author: Ann Crigler  

Course: Political Science 437

Department or School: Political Science

Student Population: Sophomore and senior Political Science and Political Economy majors

Duration: 4 weeks


  • Research topic, annotated bibliography, and plan
  • Individual literature review
  • Team literature review with hypothesis and methods section
  • Oral report presentation
  • Final research paper

Keywords: writing, data, analysis, essay, research paper, scandal

Summary:  Students in teams analyze media data to evaluate a hypothesis about media coverage of political scandals.

Assignment Goals:  This is the major written assignment for the course. It is a team project in which 2-­‐4 students will work collaboratively to study the coverage of political scandals in different media. To guide your writing, the research project is divided into four assignments: 1) research topic, 2) literature review, 3) hypotheses and methods section, and 4) final research paper and presentation.

Recommended Tools:

  • Blackboard LMS
  • Microsoft Word or other word-­‐processing program
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Qualtrics
  • SPSS
  • Googledrive and Googledocs

Faculty Author Advice:  If I were to do this assignment again, I would start the assignment earlier so there is more time for data analysis and refining their report and presentation. It’s hard to teach all these skills on top of the content in a course.
Lynda.com did not work very well for the students; they preferred doing their own searches. Too dry and not focused enough on solving the specific task they were trying to do.