A list of all the posts and pages found on the site. For you robots out there is an XML version available for digesting as well.


About Me


Making Merges Go Through Using tidylog and anti_join

3 minute read


Packages in the tidyverse suite, including dplyr, represent amazing contributions data science. One thing that constantly vexed me, though, was the inability of dplyr’s merge functionsleft_join, full_join, etc.– to actually let you know if the merges went through without having to do extra work. It just seemed so cumbersome to have to individually inspect each data frame after each merge. Well, thankfully, that is no longer necessary due to tidylog.

Removing Accents in R

4 minute read


R is a fantastic open-source program that allows users to do just about anything, but sometimes the program requires some tricks to accomplish seemingly simple tasks. Removing accents is a case in point, so I’d like to provide everyone with some guidance to overcome some of the thornier accent removal issues.

Balancing Panel Data and Removing Duplicate Unique IDs

11 minute read


Properly balancing panel data and removing duplicate unique identifiers is a recurring challenge for students in my Research Practicum course. Accordingly, I thought it would be helpful to provide an example for everyone.

Hello, World/Importing Data in R

less than 1 minute read


Hello, world! I have finally figured out GitHub and how to make a free website with Jekyll. It’s a great day!


The Global Resources Dataset



External Validity

External Validity for Social Inquiry


ArcGIS - How to Make a Map


Have you ever wondered how to make a map in ArcGIS? In this tutorial, we cover all of the basics: coordinate systems, how to work with shapefiles, spatial joins, and much more. By the end of the workshop, you will be able to plot point data and color in your map based on spatial polygons values using ArcGIS’ symbology function. [Slides Here]


Data Science for the Social World

Instructor (with Mike Findley), University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government (GOV 355M), 2021

This course provides students with a comprehensive introduction to data science for the political and economic world. By focusing on practical data skills coupled with strong social science reasoning, the course will enable students to acquire skills that will help them prepare for jobs in data science, industry, and academia. Organized around a set of substantive themes and practical tasks, each class topic is motivated by real-world problems and then backed with data science skills to solve those problems. Emphasis is placed on developing proficiency in cleaning, manipulating, wrangling, scraping, visualizing, and mapping data. Most work is conducted in the software programs R and Excel, and to a lesser extent through introductory exercises in other programs. In the process, students learn about good principles of working with data, including through version control with Github. The class takes place through asynchronous instruction, online coding practice problems, exams, and online instructor consultations. [Syllabus] [Summer 2021 Evaluation]

Applied Research Methods 1 (Research Practicum, Semester 1)

Instructor, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government (GOV 355C), 2021

This course is the first semester of a Research Practicum program that attempts to provide undergraduates with a fairly comprehensive introduction to the research process in the social sciences. Classroom instruction covers arguments, concepts, measures, causality, and basic statistics. Given that knowledge of statistical software, text editors, reference management software, and mapping software is increasingly helpful for success in the social sciences, the course will also provide training in Stata, R, LaTeX, Mendeley, Excel, and ArcGIS. At the end of the first semester, students will hand-in their own well-developed Research Proposals in lieu of a final exam. [Syllabus] [Fall 2021 Evaluation] [Fall 2019 Evaluation]

Applied Research: Political Science (Research Practicum, Semester 2)

Instructor, University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government (GOV 355D), 2022

This course is the second semester of a Research Practicum program that attempts to provide undergraduates with a fairly comprehensive introduction to the research process in the social sciences. Classroom instruction covers experiments, data structures, data cleaning, hypothesis testing, measurement challenges, linear regression, as well as the basics of panel data, regression discontinuity designs, difference-in-differences, synthetic controls, logistic regression, and network analysis. Training in Stata, R, LaTeX, Mendeley, and ArcGIS continues during the second semester of the course as well. At the end of the second semester, students complete their own research projects, write-up their results in a formal paper, and present their findings to the class. [Syllabus] [Spring 2022 Evaluation] [Spring 2021 Evaluation] [Spring 2020 Evaluation] [Spring 2019 Evaluation]

Quantitative Methods for Public Management I

Instructor, Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service (Bush 631), 2024

We live in an era of data-driven decision-making, and quantitative evidence is fundamental to inform sound governmental policies on both domestic and international issues. This course provides an introduction to quantitative methods for public policy, equipping students with fundamental skills to critically consume and analyze quantitative evidence in international development and security. Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to: (1) conduct basic descriptive inference, statistical inference, linear regression, and prediction, using the statistical software program R and, to some extent, MS Excel; and (2) explain the basics of causal inference, using causal diagrams, randomized experiments, and other quasi-experimental methods. [Syllabus]

Foreign Aid

Instructor, Texas A&M University, Bush School of Government and Public Service (Bush 689), 2024

This Master’s-level course provides an overview of the role of foreign aid in international development. The course will begin by surveying the major development paradigms/frameworks and their pitfalls: modernization, dependency theory, and principal-agent theory. Then, we will examine the major ideas, including the Washington Consensus, the importance of institutions, searchers vs. planners, community-driven development, social protection, and the rise of randomized control trials. In the process, the course will explore the role of the various actors (e.g., World Bank, IMF, regional development banks, traditional bilateral donors, China), relevant political economy considerations, and the long-run efficacy of foreign aid. To tackle the latter, the course will notably explore the complicated relationship between foreign aid and corruption—not just at the theoretical level, but also through exploration of auditing, procurement, and social accountability controls. When possible, I will leverage my contacts in academia and aid agencies to provide students with opportunities to engage with authors of the works that we will read and/or provide a first-hand policy perspective. [Syllabus]