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Planning for the Future: Methodology Training in Canadian Universities

  • Michelle L. Dion (a1) and Laura B. Stephenson (a2)

Recent changes in government policy making and the labour market have created new opportunities for political scientists, provided that we have the skills to respond to them. We argue that changes need to be made in the area of methodology training in order to capitalize on these opportunities. Canadian political scientists should ensure that all our students acquire basic quantitative competencies, in addition to research design and qualitative analysis training, and that those graduate students interested in more sophisticated quantitative methods have the opportunity to develop those skills. We explain how expanding and deepening training in quantitative methods is one strategy for ensuring a role for political science in evidence-based policy making, for expanding labour market options for students, and for keeping apace with disciplinary trends. We caution, however, that special care needs to be taken to ensure that all political scientists have equal opportunities to develop such skills.


Les changements récents survenus dans le processus de prise de décision du gouvernement et sur le marché du travail ont ouvert de nouvelles perspectives aux politologues, pourvu qu’ils aient les compétences pour y répondre. Pour tirer parti de ces ouvertures, nous soutenons que des changements s’imposent sur le plan de la formation dans le domaine de la méthodologie de la recherche. Les politologues canadiens doivent s’assurer que tous nos étudiants acquièrent les compétences quantitatives élémentaires, outre la formation en conception de la recherche et en analyse quantitative, et que les diplômés aux cycles supérieurs qui manifestent de l’intérêt pour des méthodes quantitatives plus complexes ont la possibilité de perfectionner ces compétences. Nous expliquons que l’élargissement de la formation aux méthodes quantitatives et son approfondissement est une des stratégies permettant à la science politique de jouer son rôle dans l’élaboration de politiques fondées sur des données probantes, de donner plus de choix aux étudiants sur le marché de travail et de progresser au rythme des tendances de la discipline. Nous tenons, toutefois, à faire remarques qu’une attention particulière doit être portée pour assurer que tous les politologues ont des chances égales de développer de telles compétences.

Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario, L8S 4M4, email:
Department of Political Science, The University of Western Ontario, Room 4154, Social Science Centre, London, Ontario, N6A 5C2, email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
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