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Chapter

Cover Politics

1. Introduction: The Nature of Politics and Political Analysis  

This chapter discusses the nature of politics and political analysis. It first defines the nature of politics and explains what constitutes ‘the political’ before asking whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It then considers the boundary problems inherent in analysing the political and whether politics should be defined in narrow terms, in the context of the state, or whether it is better defined more broadly by encompassing other social institutions. It also addresses the question of whether politics involves consensus among communities, rather than violent conflict and war. The chapter goes on to describe empirical, normative, and semantic forms of political analysis as well as the deductive and inductive methods of the study of politics. Finally, it examines whether politics can be a science.

Chapter

Cover Political Research

14. Textual Analysis*  

This chapter discusses the principles of textual analysis as a means of gathering information and evidence in political research. Textual analysis has generated strong interest as a research method not only in Politics and International Relations, but also throughout the social sciences. In political research, two forms of textual analysis have become particularly prominent: discourse analysis and content analysis. The chapter examines discourse analysis and content analysis and explains the use of documents, archival sources, and historical writing as data. It considers the distinction between discourse analysis and content analysis, as well as the differences between qualitative and quantitative content analysis. It also describes the procedures that are involved in both quantitative and qualitative content analysis.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

1. Introduction: The Nature of Politics and Political Analysis  

Robert Garner

This introductory chapter examines the nature of politics and the political, and more specifically whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It begins by addressing questions useful when asking about ‘who gets what, when, how?’; for example, why those taking decisions are able to enforce them. The discussion proceeds by focusing on the boundary problems inherent in an analysis of the nature of the political. One such problem is whether politics is equivalent to consensus and cooperation, so that it does not exist in the event of conflict and war. The chapter then explores different forms of political analysis — the empirical, the normative, and the semantic—as well as deductive and inductive methods of studying politics. Finally, it asks whether politics can ever be a science to rival subjects in the natural sciences.

Chapter

Cover Introduction to Politics

1. Introduction: The Nature of Politics and Political Analysis  

Robert Garner

This introductory chapter examines the nature of politics and the political, and more specifically whether politics is an inevitable feature of all human societies. It begins by addressing questions useful when asking about who gets what, when, how?; for example, why those taking decisions are able to enforce them. The discussion proceeds by focusing on the boundary problems inherent in an analysis of the nature of the political. One such problem is whether politics is equivalent to consensus and cooperation, so that it does not exist in the event of conflict and war. The chapter then explores different forms of political analysis—the empirical, the normative, and the semantic—as well as deductive and inductive methods of studying politics. Finally, it asks whether politics can ever be a science to rival subjects in the natural sciences.

Chapter

Cover Politics

19. Conclusion: Politics in the Age of Globalization  

This concluding chapter summarizes some of the major themes and the threads of various arguments discussed throughout the book. It first emphasizes the complexity of the field and the ways in which political philosophy and the empirical study of politics are intertwined, arguing that the study of politics cannot be neatly separated from the study of other disciplines such as philosophy, law, economics, history, sociology, and psychology — and the fact that policy-making typically involves the natural sciences. The chapter proceeds by analysing how globalization influences political studies and highlights the limits of ‘methodological nationalism’ in political analysis. Finally, it considers Eurocentrism in the study of politics and contends that we cannot automatically assume the pre-eminence of Europe and the United States, or the West more generally, noting the apparent inevitability of the rise of other centres of power.

Chapter

Cover Global Political Economy

4. The Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policies  

Michael J. Hiscox

This chapter examines the domestic sources of foreign economic policies. Different people in every society typically have different views about what their government should do when it comes to setting the policies that regulate international trade, immigration, investment, and exchange rates. These competing demands must be reconciled in some way by the political institutions that govern policy making. To really understand the domestic origins of foreign economic policies, we need to perform two critical tasks: identify or map the policy preferences of different groups in the domestic economy; and specify how political institutions determine the way these preferences are aggregated or converted into actual government decisions. The first task requires some economic analysis, while the second requires some political analysis. These two analytical steps put together like this, combining both economic and political analysis in tandem, are generally referred to as the political economy approach to the study of policy outcomes. The chapter then considers the impact of domestic politics on bargaining over economic issues between governments at the international level.

Book

Cover Political Research
Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills provides a practical and relevant guide to the research process for students. It equips readers with the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate research findings and successfully carry out independent study and research. Taking a helpful step-by-step approach, the chapters guide the reader through the process of asking and answering research questions and the different methods used in political research, providing practical advice on how to be critical and rigorous in both evaluating and conducting research. Topics include research design, surveys, interviewing and focus groups, ethnography and participant observation, textual analysis, quantitative analysis, bivariate analysis, and multivariate analysis. With an emphasis throughout on how research can impact important political questions and policy issues, the book equips readers with the skills to formulate significant questions and develop meaningful and persuasive answers.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

2. Approaches in comparative politics  

B. Guy Peters

This chapter examines five main approaches in comparative politics that represent important contributions: old and new institutional analysis, interest approach, ideas approach, individual approach, and the influence of the international environment. The role of ‘interaction’ is also explored. After explaining the use of theory in comparative political analysis, the chapter considers structural functionalism, systems theory, Marxism, corporatism, institutionalism, governance, and comparative political economy. It also discusses behavioural and rational choice approaches, how political culture helps in understanding political behaviour in different countries, self-interest in politics, and the implications of globalization for comparative politics. The chapter concludes by assessing the importance of looking at political processes and of defining what the ‘dependent variables’ are.

Chapter

Cover Comparative Politics

2. Approaches in Comparative Politics  

B. Guy Peters

This chapter examines five main approaches in comparative politics that represent important contributions: old and new institutional analysis, interest approach, ideas approach, individual approach, and the influence of the international environment. The role of ‘interaction’ is also explored. After explaining the use of theory in comparative political analysis, the chapter considers structural functionalism, systems theory, Marxism, corporatism, institutionalism, governance, and comparative political economy. It also discusses behavioural and rational choice approaches, how political culture helps to understand political behaviour in different countries, self-interest in politics, and the implications of globalization for comparative politics. The chapter concludes by assessing the importance of looking at political processes and of defining what the ‘dependent variables’ are.

Chapter

Cover Political Research

1. Political Research  

This text provides readers with the analytic skills and resources they need to evaluate research findings in political research, as well as the practical skills for conducting their own independent inquiry. It shows that empirical research and normative research are not independent of each other and explains the distinction between positivism and interpretivism, and between quantitative and qualitative research. Part 1 of this edition discusses key issues in the philosophy of social science, while Part 2 presents a ‘nuts and bolts’ or ‘how to’ guide to research design, such as how to find and formulate a research question. Part 3 evaluates different methods of data collection and analysis that can be used to answer research questions, along with the variety of considerations and decisions that researchers must confront when using different methods.

Chapter

Cover The Politics of the Earth

1. Making Sense of Earth’s Politics  

A Discourse Approach

This chapter introduces the politics of the Earth, which has featured a large and ever-growing range of concerns, such as pollution, wilderness preservation, population growth, depletion of natural resources, climate change, biodiversity loss, and destabilization of the Earth system. It explains how the issues of Earth’s politics are interlaced with a range of questions about human livelihood, social justice, public attitudes, and proper relation to one other and other entities on the planet. It also discusses the consequences of discourses for politics and policies. The chapter clarifies how environmental issues like ecological limits, nature preservation, climate change, biodiversity, rainforest protection, environmental justice, and pollution are interconnected in all kinds of ways. It develops an environmental discourse analysis approach and shows how this approach will be applied in subsequent chapters, beginning with the positioning of environmental discourses in relation to the long dominant of discourse of industrialism.

Chapter

Cover Political Research

7. What is Data?  

This chapter considers the main types of data used in Politics and International Relations, as well as the main criteria by which to judge whether the data collected is good or not. It first describes the steps involved in the process of thinking about what data or evidence is relevant to answering a research question before discussing the importance of addressing issues of validity and reliability in research. Some of these issues are illustrated by referring to recent attempts to measure corruption, a major topic of interest in Politics and International Relations. The chapter also examines the issue of case selection as well as the collection of qualitative and quantitative data using methods such as interviewing and observation. Finally, it analyses the so-called ‘big data’ revolution in data collection and analysis, and provides a data quality checklist.

Book

Cover Foreign Policy

Edited by Steve Smith, Amelia Hadfield, and Tim Dunne

This text provides an introduction to the ever-changing field of foreign policy. Combining theories, actors, and cases, chapters provide an interesting introduction to what foreign policy is and how it is conducted. With an emphasis throughout on grounding theory in empirical examples, the text features a section dedicated to relevant and topical case studies where foreign policy analysis approaches and theories are applied. Chapters clearly convey the connection between international relations theory, political science, and the development of foreign policy analysis, emphasizing the key debates in the academic community. New chapters focus on such topics as public diplomacy, and media and public opinion. A new case study on Syria examines the forms of intervention that have and have not been adopted by the international community.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

6. Actors, structures, and foreign policy analysis  

Walter Carlsnaes

This chapter examines how actors and structures make foreign policy an extremely complicated field of study and how, in view of this complexity, these actors and structures have been treated in the literature on foreign policy analysis. It first provides a historical background on the field of foreign policy before discussing the role of actors and structures in ‘process’ and ‘policy’ approaches to foreign policy. In particular, it describes approaches to foreign policy based on a structural perspective, namely: realism, neoliberal institutionalism, and social constructivism. It then considers evaluates approaches from an actor-based perspective: cognitive and psychological approaches, bureaucratic politics approach, new liberalism, and interpretative actor perspective. The chapter also looks at the agency–structure problem and asks whether an integrated framework is feasible before concluding with a recommendation of how to resolve the former in terms of a constructive answer to the latter.

Chapter

Cover Political Research

10. Historical Research  

This chapter focuses on the distinctions between historical research and social scientific research, and how these are being challenged by scholars in pursuit of a genuinely ‘historical social science’. It begins with a discussion of historical approaches in Politics and International Relations, including historical events research, historical process research, and cross-sectional comparative research. It then examines three approaches for addressing temporality as the sequential active unfolding of social action and events: historical institutionalism, process tracing, and event structure analysis. It also explains how to locate essential historical information and evaluate various types of sources, and what special considerations need to be made in using documents, archival sources, and historical writing as data in historical research.

Chapter

Cover Political Research

9. Comparative Research  

This chapter explores the principles of comparative research design as well as the issues and problems associated with different aspects of the approach. In particular, it considers the issue of case selection, the common sources of error that are associated with comparative research, and what can be done to try and avoid or minimize them. The comparative method is one of the most commonly used methods in political research and is often employed to investigate various political phenomena, including democratization, civil war, and public policy. The chapter discusses the three main forms of comparison, namely case study, small-N comparison, and large-N comparison. It also describes two main approaches used to select cases for small-N studies: Most Similar Systems Design and Most Different Systems Design. It also evaluates qualitative comparative analysis and concludes with an analysis of issues arising from case selection and data collection in large-N comparative research.

Chapter

Cover Foreign Policy

1. The history and evolution of foreign policy analysis  

Valerie M. Hudson

This chapter traces the history and evolution of foreign policy analysis (FPA) as a subfield of international relations (IR) from its beginnings in the 1950s through its classical period until 1993. It begins with a discussion of three paradigmatic works that laid the foundation of FPA: Decision Making as an Approach to the Study of International Politics (1954), by Richard C. Snyder, H. W. Bruck, and Burton Sapin; ‘Pre-theories and Theories of Foreign Policy’ (1966), by James N. Rosenau; and Man–Milieu Relationship Hypotheses in the Context of International Politics (1956), by Harold and Margaret Sprout. These three works created three main threads of research in FPA: focusing on the decision making of small/large groups, comparative foreign policy, and psychological/sociological explanations of foreign policy. The chapter also reviews classic FPA scholarship during the period 1954–1993 and concludes with an assessment of contemporary FPA’s research agenda.