Thomas J. Leeper > Teaching > Research Design Course > Problem Set 1

Problem Set 1: Identifying and Evaluating Claims


The purpose of this assignment is to assess your ability to identify and evaluate claims made about political and social life.


You are being given a concept to think about. For this concept, you need to define the concept, operationalize it, and consider cases that fall inside and outside the conceptual definition.

Your Task

  1. Identify a claim made about politics (broadly defined) in recent news coverage.

  2. Describe the source of the claim, the contents of the claim, and the evidence used to support to the claim.

  3. Analyze the credibility of the claim, given the evidence and the evaluation of that evidence.

  4. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the evidence presented and the methods used. How might these be improved?

  5. Write a 2-3 sentence self-evaluation reflecting on the assignment (e.g., what were the most and least useful parts of this exercise?) and on your own learning (e.g., what aspects of this were difficult for me? what aspects helped me develop new knowledge?)

Submission Instructions

Your assignment should be no more than 2 pages of double-spaced A4, Times New Roman font size 12. Submit the assignment via Moodle by Tuesday, October 10.


You will receive feedback within two weeks.

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