How Political Science Can Be Most Useful

March 12, 2019

New article in The Chronicle of Higher Education features the work of Kathryn Sikkink and Erica Chenoweth.

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"Academic work can have relevance without any obvious policy consequences at all. Erica Chenoweth and her colleagues are painstakingly compiling records of protest activities during the Trump administration. These records have great quantitative value, creating a research resource that will be useful to scholars for decades to come. Yet they also have a more immediate political impact, even if they don’t have any obvious policy lessons. They help protesters to understand the size and momentum of their protests, potentially creating a feedback loop between organizing activities and visibility.

Chenoweth’s work speaks to the real challenge that confronts political science: engaging with the public. It is not difficult for political scientists to present research in policy-relevant ways, once they learn how. Polling of Monkey Cage authors finds that a high percentage of them report interest from policy makers and journalists in their articles. Working with the public is a far harder challenge, especially since the dialogue needs to go two ways."

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