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Course content

Political scientists often pose questions that necessitate analysis of data with particular “complicating” features. Examples are:

  • How does EU membership affect foreign direct investment in the short- and long-term (which requires repeated observations for different countries over time)?
  • Do particular parliamentary institutions affect the number of article changes made to a government bill during the legislative process (which requires count data on number of changes to a particular bill)?
  • Does engaging in international conflict increase or decrease the survival chances of autocratic regimes (which require data on the duration of autocratic regimes)? This course provides a set of tools suitable for analyzing this kind of data and questions.

The course consists of three parts:

  1. Time series and panel data
  2. Models that are commonly used for analyzing qualitative or countable dependent variables
  3. Survival models, suitable for analyzing the duration of different phenomena

In addition, the course addresses how to interpret and present results to the general audience.

Learning outcome


Students will:

  • know different types of data structures and types of dependent variables, including time-series data, panel data, count data, censored data, and duration data
  • know how to address issues of autocorrelation in time series and panel data
  • know the Random Effects and Fixed Effects models, and their benefits and drawbacks in different situations
  • know of autoregressive and first-differenced models, and how to employ the time dimension to better address issues of (reverse) causality, e.g. through lagging or through conducting simple Granger tests
  • know how to estimate, evaluate and graphically present results from interaction effects
  • know how to use simple simulation tools to interpret and present results
  • know how to properly estimate, evaluate and interpret results from various models of discrete choices and outcomes
  • know the particular challenges associated with analyzing limited dependent variables and count outcomes
  • know the Poisson and Negative Binomial models, and their benefits and drawbacks in different situations
  • know the challenges associated with statistically analyzing the duration of events
  • know how to transform standard (e.g. country-year) data sets into a duration format
  • know simple parametric and the standard Cox semi-parametric duration/survival models
  • obtain a good grasp of the benefits and drawbacks various statistical models, and in which situations the different models are more and less appropriate
  • learn how to properly present statistical material visually in tables and figures


Students will:

  • be able to critically read and evaluate existing statistical studies in political science
  • be able to handle data sets using R
  • be able to apply the various statistical models mentioned above, and learn how to properly test hypotheses, interpret results, and draw careful conclusions
  • be able to replicate statistical studies in political science, and to conduct independent statistical studies


Students will:

  • enhance their capabilities in carrying out thorough, independent and critical analysis of complex questions
  • enhance their capabilities in critically evaluating empirical research
  • enhance their understanding of various elements of the scientific process, including aspects of the relation between theory and empirical evidence and between concepts and measures


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

 Apply for guest student status if you are admitted to another Master's programme.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

STV4020A - Forskningsmetode og statistikk or courses with eqiuvalent learning outcomes in OLS regression, logistic regression and a statistical package (such as SPSS or R).

Overlapping courses

6 credits overlap with STV4025 - Quantitative political science (discontinued)


Lectures and computer classes.


Portfolio examination.

  • Students will be evaluated on the basis of weekly assignments.
  • Each assignment will be based on a published article and a dataset. The task will be to replicate the study and extend it by using the techniques demonstrated in the lectures. The students need to submit a fully functional script, and a text file of maximum 1000 words that describes the purpose of the study, the method(s) and the results.
  • The deadline for the assignments will be before the first lecture of the following week.
  • All assignments must be handed in on time in order to pass the course.

Language of examination

You submit your response in English or Norwegian.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

It is recommended to request an explanation of your grade before you decide to appeal.



The deadline to request an explanation is one week after the grade is published. For oral and practical examinations, the deadline is immediately after you have received your grade.

The explanation should normally be given within two weeks after you have asked for it. The examiner decides whether the explanation is to be given in writing or verbally.

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every autumn


Every autumn

Teaching language