Cultural Measurement and Analysis in Policy Research

Professor: Matthews
Units: 1
Elective Course
Concentrations: Quantitative Methods and Social Science; Research, Analysis and Design: Empirical Analysis or Modeling Human Systems

This course covers foundations of cultural measurement and analysis and the latest developments of this approach for policy research. Drawing from the cognitive and evolutionary anthropology traditions, the course conceptualizes culture as socially learned information that influences behavior and contributes to variation within and among societies.

We will cover a broad set of mixed qualitative-quantitative methods for studying culture that operationalize culture into variables amenable to statistical analyses. We will cover statistical analyses common to cultural research including: principal component analysis (PCA), cluster analysis, network analysis, auto-regression, and supervised machine learning.

The course presumes familiarity with basic econometrics or statistics. Numerous examples will cover how cultural analysis has aided policy research on population health, international development, violent extremism, and even finding sunken treasure!