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February 20, 2006


William Ford

Someone above asked about useful articles. Here is an accessible article on one important topic, that of standard deviations, standard errors, and confidence intervals. It is very short and might be a helpful addition to a course packet.

David L. Streiner, “Maintaining Standards: Differences Between the Standard Deviation and Standard Error, and When to Use Each,” 41 Canadian J. of Psychiatry 498-502 (1996).


Forrest Maltzman

I will make a shameless plug for CRAFTING LAW ON THE SUPREME COURT (Cambridge 2000) that I coauthored with Jim Spriggs and Paul Wahlbeck. In the book, we offer a strategic model of judicial behavior. We use the internal memos circulated among the justices throughout the Burger Court to show systematically how the justices engage in instrumental behavior in pursuit of their policy and legal goals. A couple of sample chapters are available on my webpage (under the research category).

Joe Doherty

For texts I highly recommend William Trochim's "Research Methods: The Concise Knowledge Base" from Atomic Dog Publishing (www.atomicdogpublishing.com). It is a very accessible combination of theory and practice, and there is a companion website that allows professors to interact with their students. (I have no financial interest in this book.)
There is also G. David Garson's excellent website http://www2.chass.ncsu.edu/garson/pa765/statnote.htm, which I use as a quick reference.

Jason Czarnezki

A response to Eric Dickinson: It seems to me that two issues arise in teaching these seminars. The first is teaching students the underlying statistics and statistical platforms. The book suggestions help on this front. The second issue is helping students interpret the regression tables and graphs, as well as learn to critique (or even criticize) the underlying methodology. Some papers that have good descriptions of their tables and nice supplemental graphs, yet offer good discussion of research designs, include: Richard Brooks & Steven Raphael, Life Terms or Death Sentences: The Uneasy Relationship Between Judicial Elections and Capital Punishment, 92(3) JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY 609 (2003); my own paper--Jason J. Czarnezki, Voting and Electoral Politics in the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 87 MARQUETTE LAW REVIEW 323 (2003) (http://ssrn.com/abstract=747764); Charles M. Cameron, Albert D. Cover & Jeffrey Segal, Senate Voting on Supreme Court Nominees: A Neoinstitutional Model, 84 AMERICAN POLITICAL SCIENCE REVIEW 525 (1990).

Eric Dickinson

"I have not used any of these, and instead have explained basic statistical analyses using particularly accessible and easy to understand articles"

what articles would these be?

Rick Lempert

I don't know if it is still in print but Ed Tufte had a book with a title something like Data Analysis for Politics and Policy that I thought was at just the right level; also on the logic of empirical inquiry I still think you can't do better than Art Stinchcombe's classic Constructing Social Theories - I think this one still is in print.

Christine Hurt

There are some great ideas in the post. Students (or professors) with no experience in statistics or quantitative analysis may also benefit from David Cope's Fundamentals of Statistical Analysis (Foundation Press). This slim volume is taken from the larger textbook Analytical Methods for Lawyers by Jackson, Kaplow, Shavell, Viscusi & Cope. It left me wanting more on multivariate statistics, but it's a great entry-level read.

Jeff Yates

Fortunately, there are a number of good syllabi on the web for such a course. As I recall some good ones include those by Bert Kritzer (Wisc), Chris Bonneau (Pitt), and Vanessa Baird (Colo), among others. Mine can be found at:


Some good books for the course include Larry Baum's 1997 book on the puzzle of judicial behavior. There are also some good readers, including Epstein's Contemplating Courts (1995) and Segal-Diascro and Ivers, Inside the Judicial Process (2006). Of course, I'd be remiss if I didnt plug my own book, Popular Justice (SUNY Press 2002), which examines relations between the Sup Ct and the President.

For those interested in readers for students new to empirical methods, you might try Berry and Sanders book, Understanding Multivariate Research:


I hope that this is helpful. This looks to be a great blog, by the way.

Jeff Yates
Associate Professor
Department of Political Science
University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602
Email: jyates@uga.edu
Phone: 706.542.2958
Web: http://www.uga.edu/pol-sci/yates.htm
SSRN page: http://ssrn.com/author=454290

Jason Czarnezki

I recently acquired the Kohler/Kreuter text. I've been pleased with it so far.

Michael Heise

For those inclined toward Stata as the stat. package platform for an empirical methods course, Kohler & Kreuter's "Data Analysis Using Stata" (2005) is the "Norusis" for Stata. Both are perfectly serviceable.

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