POLI 359 Midterm 1

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Chapter 1 Key Terms

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Covers Chapters 1,2,3, 6-10 of the textbook.

263 Terms

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Chapter 1 Key Terms

Chapter 1 Key Terms

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Argument

The placement of evidence in logical form in support of a position or claim

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Comparative politics

The subfield of political science that aims to analyze multiple cases using the comparative method.

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Empirical

Drawn from observations of the world

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Normative

Concerned with specifying which sort of practice or institution is morally or ethically justified

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Concept

An idea comparativists use to think about the processes we study

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Conceptualization

The deliberate process through which we create and select social-scientific concepts

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Sartori's ladder of abstraction**

It illustrates the continuum of concepts, from general concepts at the top to highly specific concepts at the bottom, depending on the research question's requirements and the specific cases examined

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Operationalization

The process through which we make a concept measurable

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Evidence

A set of acts or observations used to support a proposition or hypothesis

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Level of analysis

The level (i.e., individual, organizational, societal) at which observations are made, or at which causal processes operate

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Case

In comparative analysis, a unit or example of a phenomenon to be studied

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Variable

An element or factor that is likely to change, or vary, from case to case

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Outcome

Typically used as a synonym for "effect," something that is produced or changed in any social or political process

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Dependent variable

In hypothesis testing, the dependent variable is the effect or outcome that we expect to be acted on (or have its value altered) by the independent variable

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Independent variable

In hypothesis testing, an independent variable is one that we expect to "act on" or change the value of the dependent variable

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Variation

Difference between cases in any given study of comparative politics

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Most-similar-systems (MSS)

A research design in which we compare cases that are similar with respect to a number of factors but with distinct outcomes. Example: researchers may examine how the healthcare policies of two countries with similar demographics and economic structures differ based on their respective political institutions and party systems.

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Most-different-systems (MDS)

A research design in which we compare cases that differ with respect to multiple factors but in which the outcome is the same. Example: researchers might examine the healthcare policies in the United States and Sweden, despite their substantial political and economic differences, to understand variations in healthcare delivery and outcomes.

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Comparative checking

The process of testing the conclusions from a set of comparisons against additional cases or evidence

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Generallizability

The quality that a given theory, hypothesis, or finding has of being applicable to a wide number of cases

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Within-case comparison

The comparative analysis of variation that takes place over time or in distinct parts of a single case

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Chapter 1 Concepts

Chapter 1 Concepts

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What does scholarship in comparative politics involve?

Scholarship in comparative politics transcends the mere acquisition of facts and necessitates the development of analytical skills.

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What is the primary focus of comparative politics?

Comparative politics involves examining political similarities and disparities within and between various countries.

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What are the "Five W's" in questioning?

The "Five W's" in questioning are Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How, and they serve as tools to pose questions and gather information.

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What kinds of answers do questions related to the first four W's often lead to?

Questions related to the first four W's (Who, What, Where, When) often lead to straightforward, factual responses.

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What do "Why" questions in comparative politics delve into?

"Why" questions delve into the causes and effects of events, requiring more in-depth research, reasoning, and debate.

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What tends to be the nature of "Why" questions in comparative politics?

"Why" questions tend to be multifaceted, involving multiple factors contributing to an event.

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What can "Why" questions in comparative politics lead to?

"Why" questions may yield multiple valid answers, fostering debates over the correct cause of an event.

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What is the primary aim of comparative politics?

Comparative politics aims to develop robust claims about cause and effect by examining hypotheses and factual evidence.

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What characterizes many political phenomena?

Many political phenomena are not monocausal, meaning they have multiple contributing factors.

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What is the importance of clarity in defining concepts in comparative politics?

Clarity in defining concepts ensures that the concept is well-understood and explicit.

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What does coherence in concepts involve?

Coherence involves ensuring that the components of the concept fit together logically.

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What is consistency in the context of concepts?

Consistency is about making sure that the concept aligns with other relevant concepts.

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What is the significance of usefulness in concepts?

Usefulness pertains to the concept's capacity to differentiate and measure variables in a meaningful way.

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What is conceptualization in comparative politics?

Conceptualization is the process of developing and defining concepts, whether by creating new concepts or employing existing ones.

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How can concepts vary in comparative politics?

Concepts can range from general to highly specific, depending on the research question and case studied.

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What does Sartori's Ladder of Abstraction illustrate?

Sartori's Ladder of Abstraction illustrates the continuum of concepts, from general concepts at the top to highly specific concepts at the bottom, depending on the research question's requirements and the specific cases examined.

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Chapter 2 Key terms

Chapter 2 Key Terms

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Theory

A general set of explanatory claims about some specifiable empirical range. It is a comprehensive explanations of how the world works. They're not limited to a single case but are backed by substantial empirical evidence.

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Hypothesis

A specific prediction, derived from a theory, that can be tested against empirical evidence

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Deductive reasoning

The process of moving from general claims or theories to specific observations of predictions about a phenomenon or set of cases

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Deviant case (outliner)

A case that does not fit the pattern predicted by a given theory

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Inductive reasoning

The process of moving from specific observations to general claims

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Thesis

A statement for which one argues on the basis of evidence

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Qualitative

A form of analysis that aims to discern relationships between events or phenomena as described in narrative form, such as an account of a historical process.

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Quantitative

Analysis aims for the mathematical discernment of relationships between variables, typically involving a large number of cases or observations. For example, conducting in-depth interviews with several survivors who, lets say, suffered from a serious illness. Asking questions like their emotional journey, the support they received, etc.

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Inference

The process through which we aim to test observable implications (often about cause and effect) of any given theory; also refers to conclusions reached through this process

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Correlation

A relationship between two variable in which they tend to move in either the same direction (positive correlation) or in opposite directions (negative correlation)

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Causation

The property that obtains when one thing can be shown to cause another

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Falsifiability

The testability of a theory or hypothesis. A good hypothesis could be logically demonstrated to be false by evidence.

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Endogeneity

The name given to any circumstance in which two variables exhibit mutual or reciprocal effects

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Empirical critique

An effort to point to important evidence that does not support a conventional version of any given theory

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Theoretical critique

An effort to show that a given theory has logical limitations

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Scope conditions

The conditions or range of cases for which an argument works

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Indicator

An element or feature that indicates the presence oof underlying factor

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Bias

A preference for one idea or perspective over another, especially a preference that may result in unbalanced use of evidence or in analytical error

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Measurement error

Either an episodic error, such as improperly recording data, or a systematic error, meaning that a measurement does not fully reflect what it is designed to measure

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Measurement bias

A measure is biased if it will not produce comparable results for all observations

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Measurement validity

Whether a given measure effectively captures or represents what we are researching.

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Chapter 2 Concepts

Chapter 2 Concepts

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What are theories in social science research?

Theories are comprehensive explanations of how the world works in social science research. They can be normative (addressing values and ethics) or empirical (dealing with observable phenomena and their causes).

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What are the two primary types of evidence used by social scientists?

ocial scientists use qualitative evidence (descriptive narratives and detailed accounts) and quantitative evidence (numerical data and statistical analysis).

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What is qualitative evidence in social science research?

Qualitative evidence involves descriptive narratives and detailed accounts of events or phenomena, such as historical records, interviews, and surveys. It provides rich context and descriptions of political events.

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What does quantitative evidence consist of?

Quantitative evidence comprises numerical data and statistical analysis, allowing researchers to draw inferences about cause and effect based on statistical associations.

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How do scholars contribute to the field of comparative politics through critiques?

Scholars contribute through empirical critiques that highlight cases deviating from existing theories or theoretical critiques using logic to expose theory shortcomings.

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Why is measurement validity crucial in comparative politics research?

Measurement validity ensures that measures accurately reflect the concept being researched and represent the intended variables.

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What is the purpose of hypotheses in research?

Hypotheses are specific proposed explanations for why a particular outcome occurs. They serve as educated guesses, which may be deduced from theories or induced from cases deviating from current theories.

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Differentiate between correlation and causation in research.

Correlation implies a statistical association between variables, while causation indicates a direct cause-and-effect relationship. Establishing causation requires rigorous testing, theoretical frameworks, and complex research designs. An example illustrating the difference between correlation and causation in research is that while there may be a correlation between the consumption of ice cream and the number of drownings at the beach, it doesn't imply that eating ice cream causes drownings, as the true cause is the warm weather that leads to both increased ice cream consumption and more people going to the beach.

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What are the characteristics of good questions in comparative politics research?

Good questions are answerable with evidence, interesting, related to existing theories, and seek causal explanations.

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How does balanced argumentation work in comparative politics research?

Balanced argumentation involves combining originality with respect for existing knowledge, developing original claims backed by evidence, and prioritizing the most important variables in the argument.

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Chapter 3 Key Terms

Chapter 3 Key Terms

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State

The most important form of political organization in modern politics, which, in its ideal form, is characterized by centralized control of the use of force, bureaucratic organization, and the provision of a number of public goods

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Rule of Law

A system that imposes regularized rules in a polity, with key criteria including equal rights, the regular enforcement of laws, and the relative independence of the judiciary.

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Modern state

A concept used to distinguish states in the modern world from earlier forms of political centralization; it includes features such as extensive bureaucracy, centralization of violence, and impersonality.

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State capacity

The ability of the state to achieve its objectives, especially the abilities to control violence, effectively tax the population, and maintain well-functioning institutions and the rule of law

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Failed state

A state that cannot or does not perform its expected functions

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Civil society

A space in society outside of the organization of the state, in which citizens come together and organize themselves.

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Bureaucracy

A form of organization that, in its ideal form, has individuals operating and working under established, specified, and complex rules.

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Impersonality

A quality attributed by some scholars to modern states, which ar presumed to be less likely to be identified with the personalities of their leaders.

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Citizenship

A form of relationship between the state and individuals subject to its control, in which citizens have certain basic rights and are in some way represented in the state.

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Sovereignty

The key way the authority of the modern state is conceptualized: states are understood to be the ultimate authority within their specifically demarcated territories

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State system

The condition that many of the most important actors in international relations are states, which can be understood as systemically linked to one another

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Bellicist Theory

Theory associated with scholars such as Charles Tilly, who argue that interstate wars were decisive in the creation of the modern state.

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Diffusion

The process through which a practice or idea spread locally, nationally, and globally

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Organization

Institutionalized groups such as a state, corporation, political party, social movement, or international body

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isomorphism

In institutional theory, the quality that two or more organizations have by virtue of being structurally very similar.

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World society theory

A theory associated with scholars such as John Meyer, who argue that basic organizational features of the state system are cultural and have diffused globally.

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Chapter 3 Concept

Chapter 3 Concepts

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What are some recent developments challenging state stability in Western Europe?

Recent developments include European integration (EU) and secessionist movements in regions like Catalonia and Scotland.

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Name some key characteristics of modern states.

Key characteristics include bureaucracy, impersonality, and the state's relationship with individuals through citizenship, which involves certain rights and representation.

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How is a "Modern State" distinguished from other forms of governance?

A "Modern State" is distinguished by characteristics such as bureaucracy, centralization of violence, impersonality, claims of sovereignty, and control of legitimate force.

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What functions do modern states perform within their territorial zones?

Modern states perform functions like defense, policing, punishment, taxation, order and administration, and often rely on international recognition by other states for sovereignty.

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What are some of the theories explaining the emergence of states?

Theories include political/conflict theories (centralization, warfare), economic theories (modernization, interests of the bourgeoisie), and cultural theories (changing beliefs, nationalism, religion).

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What are the three logical explanations for the spread of states (diffusion theories)?

The three explanations include coincidental development, common underlying features, and systemic qualities of spread.

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How did states spread in history regarding military and economic factors?

States developed as war-making machines, which allowed them to out-compete rivals. European colonialism also played a role in spreading state forms through military and technological advantages.

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How did states spread to serve capitalist interests, and what is the outcome?

States spread to serve international capitalist interests, creating new markets and access to raw materials. However, this can lead to neo-colonial exploitation through the division of core and peripheral states in the international system.

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How are theories of state formation relevant in today's world, particularly in countries like Afghanistan and Syria?

The theories offer insights into the historical context and dynamics influencing state formation, which can inform policies and strategies for strengthening governance and enhancing state capacity in contemporary state-building efforts.

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Chapter 6 Key Terms

Chapter 6 key terms

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