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This paper relates that the three main approaches to the study of politics, which are based on different assumptions, are the positivists, the realists and the interpretists. Next, the author evaluates each of these approaches based on their use of a scientific method. The paper concludes that the most damaging element to political science's claim to sciencehood is its limited applicability in time and space of its findings.
From the Paper:"All these objections are well grounded, yet I believe the decisive point is simply whether this approach can be trusted to always produce valuable results. That in very many cases it has already proved of great use is doubtless; yet when certain conditions are met, the positivist approach is incapable of even hinting towards the truth. Consider
an assignment like the following: "Absenteeism rates have gone up markedly in Japan's schools over the past 10 years. Please investigate the probable causes." It is safe to say that a positivist American social scientist would go about doing this by 1) elaborating a number of hypothesis about the causes of absenteeism (such as a prolonged economic recession or an unpopular school reform); 2) gathering data about Japan; and 3) trying to find correlations between his variables in his quantitative study. But the Japanese youth suffer from a syndrome called hikikomori (an individual who refuses to leave their parents house), that is not only not present in any other country, but also not well understood in their own - and until recently unnamed and unknown. What chances would a positivist have had of explaining absenteeism in Japan, through an old-fashioned quantitative study? In this situation, probably nil."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Furlong, Andy. "The Japanese hikikomori phenomenon: acute social withdrawal among young people." The Sociological Review 56.2 (2008): 309-325. Print.
- Leach, E. R. "Virgin Birth (The Henry Myers Lecture)." Proceedings of the Royal Anthropology Institute for 1966 (1966). 39-48. Print.
- Little, R. "The English School's Contribution to the Study of International Relations." European Journal of International Relations 6.3 (September 2000): 395-422. Print.
- Marsh, D. and G. Stoker. Theory and methods in political science. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 1995. Print.
Cite this Analytical Essay:
Who's a Political Scientist? (2012, October 18) Retrieved April 03, 2020, from https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/who-a-political-scientist-151856/
"Who's a Political Scientist?" 18 October 2012. Web. 03 April. 2020. <https://www.academon.com/analytical-essay/who-a-political-scientist-151856/>