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Scholasticism in Political Science

  • Lawrence M. Mead (a1)
Abstract

Criticism of trends in political science centers on specific methodologies—quantitative methods or rational choice. However, the more worrisome development is scholasticism—a tendency for research to become overspecialized and ingrown. I define that trend more closely and document its growth through increases in numbers of journals, organized sections in the American Political Science Association, and divisions within the APSA conference. I also code articles published in the American Political Science Review to show a growth in scholastic features in recent decades. The changes affect all fields in political science. Scholasticism serves values of rigor. To restrain it will require reemphasizing relevance to real-world issues and audiences. To do this should also help restore morale among political scientists.

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Perspectives on Politics
  • ISSN: 1537-5927
  • EISSN: 1541-0986
  • URL: /core/journals/perspectives-on-politics
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Supplementary Materials

Mead supplementary material
Averages from APSR Coding for Figures 4 and 5

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Explanatory files

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APSR Articles by Methodological Orientation and Field

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APSA Member and Section Data for Figures 2 and 3

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Journal data for Figure 1

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