• Unit 1: Social Science and Comparative Politics

    Effective comparative study of political systems is rooted in the scientific method. In this unit, we offer an overview and brief history of scientific inquiry and research methods. We build on these themes as we focus on the comparative method and outline several positivist models of comparison employed by political scientists.

    As you review the material, think about how the comparative scientific study of politics differs from scientific inquiry in the natural world. Should we use the same research methods to study politics, as a scientist studying microbes or global climate change? Can we study the world of comparative politics objectively, as it exists, or try to derive better political models and outcomes?

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.