Political Science Education and the Profession

A Data Adventure with Students

Karen McCurdy Georgia Southern University
Abstract
The isolated college educated policy expert who would exist in a world devoid of reference books is a relic of the turn of the 20th century. My students have smart phones, Wikipedia, and news feeds. They will not be isolated from information. The pedagogical problem is different now. I do not need to test how much a student can read and retain. I need to test how a student can sift through information to find the elements that are needed for the present purpose, which is to produce a convincing rational argument supported with information. Including empirical analysis is important for students in the introductory political science classroom. The next generation of civic leaders needs to be able to utilize government statistics and policy reports as they engage in politics. The Introduction to American Politics curriculum can be expanded to include having students build evidence based arguments themselves.
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