Steven D. Roper

Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant
International Institute of Management

I received a Fulbright Senior Specialist Grant for the period of 19 May-30 June 2003. I was affiliated with the International Institute of Management (IIM) located in Chisinau, Moldova. As part of the grant, I conducted workshops for faculty and students in the area of international political economy (IPE) and applied research methods. I was fortunate that my old friend, Dr. Yuri Josanu, served as my host. I found the faculty and students very receptive to integrating theories of IPE and statistical methods.

As part of the workshop, I developed a set of courses designed to teach faculty and students how to use the statistical software package SPSS 11.5. Given the economic focus of IIM, I have designed the research and quantitative methods course to focus on the practical application of statistical analysis on international political economy. I developed a two-sequence course. I taught a course entitled “Statistical Analysis of International Political Economy.” The first hour of the course was designed around core institutional issues of political economy, specifically focusing on the role of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. The second hour of the course was devoted to generating testable hypotheses related to these international financial institutions. The course operated as a group research project in which we constructed a hypothesis, select appropriate variables and then conduct data analysis. I created a web page for the course which contained a sample syllabus for faculty development as well as various exercises that I used in the course. I have also brought with me copies of SPSS 11.5 which I installed on computers at IIM.

The purpose of this course was not only disseminate information about these critical financial institutions but also to demonstrate how social scientists study these institutions and incorporate statistical analysis. While many educational programs focus on various substantive academic issues ranging from political science to journalism, few programs in the social sciences have centered on the developing of social science research skills. Given that this program was six weeks, it was simply an introduction to basic scientific concepts and forms of data analysis; however, this course established how social scientists can conduct research and provide faculty and students at IIM some basic research tools that can be used in other future courses. Moreover for faculty desiring to conduct research in the U.S. or for students wishing to enter graduate school, these basic research skills and knowledge of data analysis will assist them as the prepare for U.S.-based social sciences research.

Here are a couple of photos with my host advisor (click on the photos for a larger version).