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POLITICAL INQUIRY

Bea, Alexis Elaine A.

 Professional Level Research


o Systems Theory
 Examines elements in the political environment to explain a political
phenomenon.
 Conceived by David Easton
o Power Theory
 Examines the power relationships to explain political activity
o Goals Theory
 Examines the purpose or goals of political phenomenon to explain political
activity
o Rational Choice Theory
 Political activities are a result of individuals’ preferences and self-interest
 Methods of Investigation
o Philosophical Method
 Those using this method examine the scope, purpose, and values of government
activity.
 Asks the question: How should the government act?
o Historical Method
 Those using this approach examine what conditions contributed to the occurrence
of government activity
o Comparative Method
 Those using this approach compare and contrast experiences of governments,
states, and other political entities
o Juridical Method
 Those using this approach examine the legal basis for government activities
o Behavioral Method
 Those using this method study the behavior of political actors by examining data
collected on actual political occurrences
o Post-behavioral Method
 Challenged the idea that academic research had to be value neutral
 Claimed that behaviorialism’s bias towards observable and measurable
phenomena meant that too much emphasis was being placed on easily studied
trivial issues at the expense of more important topics

 Types of Student Writing


o Analysis
 Asks the student to provide a perspective or a reasoned opinion about the
significance of an event or a document.
o Argument
 Require the student to prove or debate a point.
o Causality
 Require the student to speculate about the reasons why some political event has
occurred.
 May also be asked to make predictions after a certain political event has
occurred.
o Classify
 Asks the student to identify a pattern or system of classifying objects.
o Compare or Contrast
 Asks the student to identify the differences and similarities between political
roles, political systems, or political events
o Definitions
 Asks the student to define a political concept, term, or phrase.
 Students must provide examples of distinguishing features and differentiate the
topic from others in its functional class
o Process
 Asks the student to describe how some political phenomena relate functionally to
other political phenomena
 Process of Political Inquiry
o Hypothesis
 A generalization the can be tested
 State expected relationships between the dependent variable and the independent
variables.
o Evidence: Data
 Quantitative
 Objective numerical data
 Qualitative
 Subjective authoritative data
o Conclusions
 Assertions made by the author concerning the relationship between the
hypothesis and evidence
o Knowledge
 What is learned from the process or political inquiry. The goal of all political
inquiry is to contribute to a universal body of language
 Assertions
o Beliefs
 Convictions based on personal faith values, perceptions of morality, and cultural
experiences
 Not based on fact or evidence
o Facts
 Verifiable information
 They do not make good assertions because the truth is not debatable
o Opinions
 Judgments based on facts
 Testable and arguable because they are viewpoints arrived at through the
examination of facts and evidence
 Opinions are not arguments; Arguments with supporting evidence are used to
support opinions
o Prejudices
 Opinions that have been formed on insufficient or unexamined evidence
 Often thoughtless oversimplifications and typically reflect a narrow-minded view
of the world
 Testable and easily refutable
 Supporting Arguments with Data
o Examples
 Specific references or instances of the point being made and are typically referred
to as anecdotal reference
o Expert opinions
 Judgments made by authorities based on their experiences with evidence and
assessment of facts
 When there are lack of facts, expert opinions are the next strongest evidence to
support an argument
o Facts
 Statements that can be verified
 Strongest proof or evidence a writer can supply to support an assertion
 Most difficult to obtain
o Statistics
 Probabilistic evidence
 Depends on strict adherence to representative sampling techniques
 Statistics are not facts
 Statistics alone provide weak support for an argument

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