A study on the importance of the scientific method in political science

What is the importance of the study of Political Science? The study of Political Science in very useful and valuable.

A study on the importance of the scientific method in political science

Share via Email In the early stages of my PhD research, I've had to tackle some fundamental questions about the nature of my field — political science — and the way in which the study of politics ought to be conducted.

There are internal debates within political science that are themselves political, and which have a wider bearing on how ideas are produced and promoted beyond academia. These debates are not "academic" in the narrow sense. They affect political discourse more generally, and so concern us all. The prevailing view within the discipline is that scholars should set aside moral values and political concerns in favour of detached enquiry into the mechanics of how the political world functions.

This often involves borrowing the trappings of the natural sciences in attempts to establish generalisable theories of causation through the testing of hypotheses. To the extent that this activity has a purpose beyond the establishment of knowledge for its own sake, it is to place that knowledge at the hands of policymakers who, in the light of the political scientist's advice, may then make political and moral judgements as they see fit.

Learning from the disciplines of "hard science", where appropriate, can certainly yield benefits. But I have yet to be convinced by the idea that the study of politics can be apolitical and value-neutral. Our choice of research topics will inevitably reflect our own political and moral priorities, and the way in which that research is framed and conducted is bound to reflect assumptions which — whether held consciously, semi-consciously or unconsciously — remain of a moral and political nature.

Additionally, striving for "policy relevance" can result in the production of research that conforms to the priorities of power. Examples are not hard to come by. The field of terrorism studies focuses almost exclusively on the terrorism of non-state actors, as opposed to the greater problem of state terrorism.

Those academic studies of the developing world that are produced in the UK and the US tend to present the global south purely as a problem for, or a threat to, the global north.

Some topics are simply passed over altogether.

Why study political science?

In the s, the UK helped maintain a sanctions regime on Iraq that, as documented by Unicef, resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civiliansaround half of them children under the age of five. Yet of the scores of articles produced in British international relations journals during that time, only three discussed the sanctions regime and its appalling effects.

It is difficult to see why choosing to investigate state terrorism would be "political", while choosing not to would be non-political, or why discussing the effect of sanctions on Iraqi society constitutes any more of a moral choice than choosing not to do so. The suspicion must arise that, when some scholarship is described as too political or too polemical, what is really meant is that it is insufficiently consistent with, or too critical of, mainstream priorities and assumptions.

If it is inevitable that our politics and values will have an effect on our research, then it is surely in the interests of scholarly integrity that this is openly acknowledged. The intellectual rigour of our work is bound to be enhanced by our explicitly accounting for how it is shaped by our own politics and moral values.

I certainly don't suggest that every view is hopelessly subjective, and each opinion of equal value. There is a difference between truth and falsehood, between rigorous and faulty reasoning.

What is important is to acknowledge that our attempts to discern what is true or false, and to engage in rational analysis, occur within an ideological framework. Ideology is not the same as dogma: Ideology — the place where theory and morality meet — is, at its best, a dynamic rational tool, vital to the task of building knowledge.

It is when our personal ideologies are taken for granted, or left unexamined, that they lapse into dogma, and it is therefore important that this is not allowed to happen. Excusing research that adheres to conventional wisdom from the task of accounting for its politics and values, while delegitimising less conservative work on the basis of its being "political" or "ideological" as though this distinguished it in some way from the rest of the field cannot be a productive way to proceed.

In fact, the Enlightenment philosophical tradition, which so many mainstream scholars aspire to uphold, is full of prominent examples of intellectuals criticising power from an explicitly moral standpoint.

Mary Wollstonecraft 's challenge to patriarchy, or Thomas Paine 's calls for "democratic republicanism", redistribution of property and an end to slavery, are merely the most obvious examples.

Consider Adam Smith's "very violent attack" as he himself described it on the way in which influential economic elites had been able to distort public policy to suit their own ends at the expense of the public interest.• Political Science = Scientific Study of Politics • Politics – "who gets what, when, and how" (Harold Lasswell) • Feelings and meanings may be important but science can only apply to their observable implications • Soaking and poking (Fenno) 3 Science .

In a way, scientific method has enabled the studies of politics to reach the Political Science in matters of collection of data, description and classification, and formulation .

Uses of Scientific Method in Political Science

Unit 1: The Science of Politics This unit will serve as an introduction to the scientific study of politics. As a social science, political science straddles both the hard and soft science timberdesignmag.com science is characterized by strict and rigorous scientific standards with close attention to formal standards for hypothesis formulation and testing.

Natural science is the study of the natural world; and social science is the systematic study of human behaviour and society. Political Science falls under the category of social sciences.

Political Science may be defined as the analysis, description and prediction of political systems, political behaviour and politics in general.

A study on the importance of the scientific method in political science

A turning point in the history of early philosophical science was Socrates' example of applying philosophy to the study of human matters, including human nature, the nature of political communities, and human knowledge itself.

Political science is governed by five myths: l) that it studies politics; 2) that it is scientific; 3) that it is possible to study politics separated off from economics, sociology, psychology and history; 4) that the state in our democratic capitalist society is politically neutral, that is available as a set of institutions and mechanisms to.

Scientific method - Wikipedia