Seminar with Assistant Professor Matthew Wilson (West Virginia University)
Title of the presentation: Trends in Political Science Research and the Progress of Comparative Politics
Matthew will take his published (2017) article from PS: Political Science & Politics as point of departure for talking about the broad trends in Comparative Politics research over the last century. He will, however, also present a new tool that he has developed for identifying various trends in CP research and discuss some more nuanced patterns.
This presentation illustrates major trends in political science research and frames the progress of research agendas in comparative politics. It summarizes the methods and findings published in Wilson (2017, PS: Politics and Political Science), which drew on the titles and abstracts of every article published in eight major political science journals between 1906 and 2015 and tracked the frequency of references to specific keywords over time. Following Munck's (2007) description of how the field has developed, it describes three 'revolutions' that shaped comparative politics-the divorce of political science from history during its early years, a behavioral revolution that lasted until the late 1960s, and a second scientific revolution after 1989 characterized by greater empiricism. It then shows several extensions by characterizing the extent to which various countries and regions have been covered and touching on additional trends. Understanding the development of the subdiscipline and viewing it through the research published in political science over the last 100 years provides useful context for teaching future comparativists and encourages scholars to think more broadly about the research traditions to which they are contributing.