Essential Mathematics for Political And Social Research
Essential Mathematics for Political and Social Research addresses an educational deficiency in the social and behavioral sciences. This 2006 book was the first of its kind to specifically address the comprehensive introduction to the mathematical principles needed by modern social scientists. The material introduces basic mathematical principles necessary to do analytical work in the social sciences, starting from first principles, but without unnecessary complexity. The core purpose is to present fundamental notions in standard notation and standard language with a clear, unified framework throughout. Through examples and exercises, this book is intended to not only motivate specific mathematical principles and practices, but also introduce the way that social science researchers use these tools. The intended emphasis is on conceptual understanding of key principles and their subsequent application.
Almost perfect, but not sufficient
By Yannis "Yannis" - January 12, 2009
Jeff Gill's book is intended as a first entry point into the formalities of current political science. In other words, if you are contemplating becoming a formal modeler (essentially, game-theory-based) or a statistics-based tester of political-scientific hypotheses, AND you fill comfortable with algebra 1 and 2 and some basic notions of calculus, then this should be your atarting point.
Given the goal it sets for itself, this is a very good product -- though not yet a perfect one.
ON THE POSITIVE SIDE:
1) Gill writes in an engaging and elegant manner (despite the surprisingly many typos throughout the text, which one hopes concern the prose only). This is a considerable advantage, because many of his competitors use a dry and boring style;
2) He uses many examples, most of which are indeed from politics, as the author and editor are proud to advertise;
3) He goes quite some way into explaining the intuition (i.e. the fundamental... read more
Surprisingly better than other options
By S. Purpura - March 4, 2007
Jeff's use of political science examples with the range of mathematical constructs makes this a particularly good book for beginning graduate political science students and undergraduate political science students who want to prepare themselves for graduate study. If you are new to political science and looking for a math refresher, at least scan through the book in the library before you adopt something else. My only regret is that the answers to sample problems are only available through a teaching edition.
Fantastic Starter Edition for Mathematics
By E. DeSpain - March 8, 2008
This book is the best book of many that I have found for someone who is attempting to decipher the mathematical side of the social sciences. I say this particularly because the author provides useful mathematical tips and insights to variables and terms to those who are not familiar with all of their differing uses in the seperate branches of the social sciences.
Another reviewer said it best when he/she said that this book was written to help readers understand mathematics as a language. This author truly treats the understanding of mathematics as a language teacher does. The author does not fall into the usual trap that so many authors before him have done, which is to assume prior mathematical knowledge beyond algebra. This book makes mathematics far more accessible than its counterparts before it for someone seeking either a refresher course or perhaps to merely buttress their mathematical understanding.
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