2021 Pre-Conference Short Courses

Pre-conference short courses provide diverse opportunities, either half day or full day, for professional development and offer attendees the chance to connect with scholars from a range of backgrounds. They are sponsored by APSA Organized Sections and other affiliated organizations.  APSA will offer pre-conference short courses as part of the in-person event format.  These courses will run on Wednesday, September 29, in Seattle. In-person attendees can register as part of the registration process for short courses. There is an additional $25 fee for pre-conference short courses. All short course participants must be registered for the Annual Meeting and have a badge before attending.

Select short courses will be held virtually (off-platform) on Monday, September 27th. 

Shane Nordyke
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 603

In this short course. Dr. Mitchell Brown and Shane Nordyke, (current and former editors of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning section of JPSE) will provide participants an overview of the essential expectations for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) in Political Science.  We will cover a broad range of SOTL topics and methods, highlighting what reviewers most frequently looked for in articles.  Participants will learn how to design effective SOTL research in a variety of contexts including large lectures, small sections, at research and teaching institutions, graduate student sections, interdisciplinary approaches, qualitative approaches, and cross-institution collaborations. Participants will also learn strategies to take their current SOTL research to the next level by learning how to strengthen their research design or improve the quality of their evidence.  The workshop will highlight exemplars of SOTL work from the Journal of Political Science Education over the last five years and offer participants time to design or improve current SOTL projects in small groups.

Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 604

Organizer: Political Organizations and Parties (POP) Section
Timothy M. LaPira, James Madison University (POP secretary)
Beth L. Leech, Rutgers University (POP past president)

There is a growing range of data sources available for the study of the advocacy efforts of organized interests and a growing ability to address interesting questions that had long been left on the sidelines. This workshop introduces some of the largest and most useful data sets for studying interest groups and instructs participants in how to use those data. The data sources discussed include reports filed under the US Lobbying Disclosure Act and data about the policy positions of US interest groups collected by the MapLight nonprofit organization, and a wide range of data about the advertising efforts of US interest groups, collected through the Wesleyan Media Project, the Federal Communications Commission, and social media sites themselves. The short course will also feature presentations about data for interest groups in the European Union and the United Kingdom, as collected by the Comparative Interest Groups survey project and the INTERARENA project.

Presenters during the workshop will include:

Jesse M. Crosson (Trinity University), Alexander C. Furnas (Northwestern University), and Geoffrey M. Lorenz (University of Nebraska) on interest group positions data from MapLight.org.

Timothy M. LaPira (James Madison University) and Herschel F. Thomas III (West Virginia University) on using data from the Lobbying Disclosure Act

Travis Ridout (Washington State University), Erika Fowler (Wesleyan University) and Michael Franz (Bowdoin College) on interest group advocacy through advertising

Jan Beyers (University of Antwerp) on the Comparative Interest Group survey project and its cross-national data sets

Helene Helboe Pedersen (Aarhus University) on the INTERARENA project.

Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Washington State Convention Center, 603

The Political Economy (PE) organized section of the American Political Science Association is seeking applications from junior scholars for a pre-conference research workshop, held the Wednesday prior to the APSA annual meeting. The workshop aims to provide feedback on a specific paper as well as the broader research program of scholars underrepresented in the political economy field; in doing so, the section seeks to foster greater inclusivity and diversity within the PE community. Dimensions of diversity could include, among other things, race and ethnic identity; gender; non-R1 (“research intensive”) academic institutions; and home departments with little or no presence of other political economy scholars. The workshop is open to tenure-track, non-tenure track, post-docs, and advanced ABD candidates close to completing their Ph.D. dissertation.

Each junior scholar will be asked to present a working paper. We will pair each presenter with a senior PE scholar, sharing similar substantive interests. The senior scholar will offer constructive feedback on the manuscript and provide more generalized mentoring guidance during the workshop and the dinner that follows. Other workshop participants also will offer feedback and participate in the conversation about each paper. We will select three junior scholars for this inaugural workshop. The Political Economy section will defray the costs of participation (lodging and meals) with a $750 travel grant for each paper presenter.

Interested applicants should submit a two-page proposal indicating how they would benefit from this research workshop, identifying between three and five senior scholars they believe could provide helpful feedback on the paper, and discussing their eligibility for this workshop. In addition, each applicant should submit a PDF version of the working paper they will present if selected to participate. Scholars working in any part of the political economy tradition, broadly construed, are welcome to apply. Please share this call with ABDs and recent PhDs who may be interested, but who are not currently members of the Political Economy section.
***Deadline for applications is March 31, 2021. The link to the application is https://forms.gle/yvpitpkJ6hGVfodr9.

Committee Members:
Layna Mosley (Princeton University); Lisa Blaydes (Stanford University); and Ethan Buena de Mesquita (University of Chicago

Titus Alexander
Half Day, 1:30 – 5:30 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 616

How can we teach non-partisan, practical political education across the curriculum?
This short course covers a range of tried and tested methods for developing political understanding and skill across the curriculum, including how to
• make the most of ‘teachable moments’
• create learning communities in a class or lecture programme, using peer induction, electing class representatives and devils’ advocates; setting up study buddies, huddles, buzz groups and action learning sets;
• use reflection and feedback at the end of every lesson
• tackle controversial issues constructively
• make the most of invited activists, politicians and practitioners
• base assignments on real-life tasks, projects or community service
• twin with learners in the local community or other countries
• explore issues of power and exclusion
• use a Solutions Focus and Systems Thinking approach to problem solving
• present theories as stories, pictures and diagrams
• teach Theories of Change and how to plan and develop a campaign
• evaluate the impact of your course
This course is participative and informative, drawing on ‘Practical Politics: Lessons in Power and Democracy’ (2016, UCL IoE/Trentham) about teaching democratic politics in civil society, schools and university as well as examples from four decades of experience in civic education, engagement and advocacy in the UK at a local, national and international level, as well as research into the impact of social science and evaluation of education. The author is a regular contributor to the World Forum for Democracy, hosted by the Council of Europe, and has published widely on deepening democracy, including Family Learning: The Foundation of Effective Education (Demos 1997), Citizenship Schools: A practical guide (2001), and Unravelling Global Apartheid: An overview of world politics (Polity/Blackwell’s, 1996). He runs an advanced apprenticeship in campaigning and leadership for trade unions, and founded Democracy Matters, an alliance for learning practical politics. He created the Charter 99 for Global Democracy campaign and Uniting Humanity, a trainer of trainers’ programme in global citizenship.

Colin Ellman
Half Day, 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 607

This short course will cover the underlying logic and best practices of process tracing, which is a within-case method of developing and testing causal explanations of individual cases.

We will briefly summarize the philosophy of science behind explanation via reference to hypothesized causal mechanisms and then outline the logic of process tracing, which entails asking whether the evidence we find in a case would be more or less plausible if a given explanation of that case is true as compared to a rival explanation. Throughout the session we will emphasize best practices and applications to exemplars of process tracing research. The examples we use will be primarily in international relations and comparative politics, but the methods we discuss are applicable to all the subfields of political science, to sociology, economics, history, business studies, public policy, and many other fields. Students will practice applying process tracing reasoning in small group exercises. As time allows, and depending on the numbers, students will discuss how they plan to use process tracing in their current research so the instructors and fellow students can offer constructive advice on how best to carry it out.

The course will also introduce the logic of Bayesian inference that underlies process tracing and overview key conceptual insights that can help us better evaluate the inferential import of qualitative evidence. Students interested in learning more about the Bayesian approach are encouraged to also take the ‘Bayesian Process Tracing’ short course led by Tasha Fairfield, which will be held in the afternoon of the same day as the present course. Students can benefit by taking either or both courses; we have designed the two short courses so that they complement each other.

Enrique Pinzon
Half Day, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 607

In this workshop, we discuss methods for drawing causal inferences when analyzing observational rather than experimental data. We present a variety of estimators for average treatment effects (ATEs) and average treatment effects on the treated (ATETs) and discuss when each estimator is useful. Throughout the workshop, we cover the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of treatment effects and demonstrate the methods with many practical examples worked using Stata software.

After a discussion of the potential-outcome framework and an overview of the parameters estimated, the workshop introduces the following treatment-effect estimators
o regression-adjustment estimator
o inverse-probability-weighted (IPW) estimator
o augmented IPW estimator
o IPW regression-adjustment estimator
o nearest-neighbor matching estimator
o propensity-score matching estimator
o difference-in-differences (DID)

The course also discusses
o standard errors and diagnostics for DID estimation
o double-robustness property of the augmented IPW and IPW regression-adjustment
o estimators using different functional forms for outcome model and treatment
o model multivalued treatments
o estimators when the treatment is endogenous

The discussion of estimators that handle an endogenously assigned treatment includes extended regression model (ERM) estimators, which can also account for other complications in observational data such as endogenous sample selection and endogenous regressors.

All topics are discussed using a combination of theory and Stata examples.

Andrew Stinson
Half Day, 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Washington State Convention Center, Room 606