A Qualitative Assessment of the Learning Outcomes of Teaching Introductory American Politics in Comparative Perspective

Document Type


SoTL Category

Course/Program Assessment

SoTL Discipline

Arts and Humanities

Publication Date



This article discusses the findings of an ethnographic content analysis of students' written reflections as a means for assessing the learning outcomes of teaching introductory American politics in comparative perspective. It focuses especially on determining whether and how this approach enhanced students' understanding and retention of knowledge about U.S. government and politics by presenting them with cognitive conflict tasks that entail their appreciation of alternative approaches to situation assessment and problem resolution. In addition, it evaluates the extent to which learning about American politics in comparative perspective prompted political engagement and identifies some additional learning outcomes that have not been anticipated in previous scholarship.


This article was published in Journal of Political Science Education. Vol. 7, Issue 4. (2011). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/15512169.2011.615187