A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
This course aims to teach the basics of party competition, shedding light on different theories and strategies (ranging from the spatial theory of voting, to theories on issue competition, valence politics, populism, negative campaigning, and so on). In addition, students will learn the main techniques (manual or automated) that allow to measure political outcomes, with a focus on estimating the positions of political actors. With respect to this, peculiar attention will be devoted to social media as a source of data.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, students will be able to analyze and interpret strategies used by political parties to compete in an election campaign. Thanks to lab lectures, attending students will learn how to use existing sources of data about political parties; they will also get familiar with the basics of text analysis, learning how to perform simple analyses using scaling techniques, topic models and sentiment analysis. By doing that, they will also be able to develop and test simple and coherent research questions concerning everyday political competition.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
If the covid emergency persists, the course will be done online combining synchronous (Zoom or Microsoft Teams) and asynchronous lectures (that will be available on ARIEL).

The program and the required readings will remain the same.

The exam will consist in an oral examination (Skype) both for attending and non-attending students.

Further details will be provided on the website of the course (https://andreaceron.com/teaching) and on ARIEL.
Course syllabus
A) Theories of party competition
Spatial theory of voting
Issue competition & issue ownership
Valence competition
Negative campaigning
Nichness & populism
Ambiguity & broad appeal strategy
Intra-party politics
Voters' perceptions
Other political actors

B) Measuring political outcomes & positions of political actors
Comparative Manifesto Project
Expert surveys
Scaling techniques
Topic models
Sentiment analysis & Dictionary methods
Social media data
Prerequisites for admission
Statistics and Political Science
Teaching methods
Mixture of theoretical lectures in classroom and empirical lectures in lab (after the end of the covid emergency)
Teaching Resources
The required readings will be made available on the website of the course (https://andreaceron.com/teaching) and/or on ARIEL
Assessment methods and Criteria
Non-attending students: written test composed of short open-ended questions (after the end of the covid emergency)

Attending students: class attendance and active participation + written exam (open-ended & multiple-choice questions) + short research paper OR practical assignment in lab (depending on class size)
SPS/04 - POLITICAL SCIENCE - University credits: 6
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Ceron Andrea
Educational website(s)
please contact me via email
skype / room 303