Challenge Your Understanding of Political Science



9 Questions

What is political science?

What are some fields that political science draws upon?

What are some subdisciplines of political science?

What are some related fields to political science?

What methods do political scientists use?

When did the American Political Science Association (APSA) and the International Political Science Association (IPSA) get founded?

What do political scientists specialize in when examining data about a specific country?

What does political science study in relation to unexpected disasters?

What are some research methods used in political science?



  • Political science is the scientific study of politics, including systems of governance and power, political activities, institutions, thought and behavior, and constitutions and laws.
  • It is methodologically diverse and draws upon fields such as economics, law, sociology, history, philosophy, human geography, political anthropology, and psychology.
  • Political science is divided into subdisciplines such as comparative politics, international relations, and political theory, and related fields include public policy and administration, domestic politics and government, political economy, and political methodology.
  • Political scientists use a variety of methods, including primary and secondary sources, scholarly journal articles, survey research, statistical analysis, case studies, experimental research, and model building.
  • The history of political science began in the late 19th century, with the creation of university departments and chairs with the title of political science.
  • Political science as a discipline has a clear set of antecedents, including moral philosophy, political economy, political theology, history, and other fields concerned with normative determinations of what ought to be and with deducing the characteristics and functions of the ideal state.
  • The American Political Science Association was founded in 1903, and the International Political Science Association was founded in 1949.
  • Political scientists may specialize in the politics of a specific country, examining data such as constitutions, elections, public opinion, foreign policy, legislatures, and judiciaries.
  • Political science also studies how governments handle unexpected disasters and how voters in democracies react to their governments' responses to crises.
  • Political science is taught in colleges and universities, with BA, MA or MAT, and PhD or EdD programs available. Political science is often located within the school or college of arts and sciences, or within a separate constituent college or academic department.
  • Political science involves different genres of writing, including research papers, literature reviews, case studies, and essays.

Subfields and Cognate fields:

  • Political science subfields include American politics, comparative politics, international relations, political theory, public policy and administration, domestic politics and government, political economy, and political methodology.
  • Political science may overlap with other social sciences, such as sociology and psychology, and may also inherit their methods of study or develop a contrasting approach.
  • Political science can benefit from aligning more closely with the study of culture in anthropology.
  • Political science conferences and journals often emphasize scholarship in more specific categories.

Research methods:

  • Political science is methodologically diverse, with political scientists approaching the study of politics from a host of different ontological orientations and with a variety of different tools.
  • Empirical political science methods include field experiments, surveys and survey experiments, case studies, process tracing, historical and institutional analysis, ethnography, participant observation, and interview research.
  • Political scientists also use and develop theoretical tools like game theory and agent-based models to study a host of political systems and situations.
  • Political theorists approach theories of political phenomena with a similar diversity of positions and tools, including feminist political theory, historical analysis, and Straussian approaches.
  • Methodological pluralism is a defining feature of contemporary political science.


Test your knowledge of political science with this informative quiz! From the history of the discipline to its diverse subfields and research methods, this quiz will challenge your understanding of the scientific study of politics. Whether you're a political science student or just interested in the subject, this quiz is a great way to test your knowledge and learn something new. Keywords: political science, subfields, research methods, history, empirical methods, theoretical tools, methodological pluralism.

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