This book aims to provide an introduction to the way that political scientists carry out their studies. In universities it is quite common to have societies set up by students that correspond to the various disciplines that they are studying. These societies provide a number of intellectual events for students to attend but they also organize some social activities. They produce their own merchandise, normally T-shirts or sweaters that society members can wear. The shirts, at least in Southampton, carry mildly risqué slogans reflecting on some aspect of the discipline. Slogans that can be observed include ‘psychologists like to experiment’ and ‘economists do it with models’. The Politics Society has so far been unable to make an allusion to the methods and approach of its subject and its most recent offering is the rather abject ‘political scientists do it on the backbenches’. This book is not a response to this relative failure but it could be argued that the failure of wit on the part of Southampton’s Politics Society reflects a wider challenge in the discipline of political science. We are not clear enough or self-reflective enough about the way our subject is studied. Our book is certainly a response to that concern. And readers of the book may be moved to suggest a future slogan along the lines of ‘political scientists do it with variety’.
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