Is Political Science Research Relevant?

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's April 2001

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Political Science research has clearly been relevant and instrumental in understanding the interactions of humans and the world at large. Through analysis and normative change, it has contributed significantly to areas such as political behaviour, comparative politics and international relations. In using qualitative and quantitative tools, political science has increased its relevance through institutions and policies that create change and seek to understand human action. Whilst traditionally this relevance cannot be negated, a deeper analysis into the sub-discipline of gender and politics, highlights inconsistencies with political science research in its current form continuing to be of relevance across the broad spectrum of society. It is perhaps time, that political science once again re-evaluated itself in order to become wholly relevant to the diverse, discursive needs of the post-modern twenty- first century.

Before one can evaluate the relevance of political science, one must first come to terms with the concept as a whole.

However the diverse and dynamic nature of political science makes an underlying, unifying definition difficult. Through an analysis of political science research, it becomes evident that political science is a dynamic and diverse discipline, which is self-perpetuating in nature and continually evolving.

Lupia expands on an economic metaphor in defining political science research as a product that " clarifies the properties and mechanics of the complex political phenomena that affect many aspects of our lives"� (Lupia, 2000:7). Lupia points out that the politics is indeed a broad subject matter, and the study of it may seem self defeating - " why study something that people think they already know"� (Lupia, 2000:9). He argues that political science research is a product that provides a means for exploring, explaining and evaluating ideas that already exist about politics in a transparent and impartial manner. For this reason political science research can...