Graduate Qualitative Methods Training in Political Science: A Disciplinary Crisis

Graduate Qualitative Methods Training in Political Science: A Disciplinary Crisis

By Cassandra V. EmmonsPrinceton University and Andrew M. MoravcsikPrinceton University

Most political scientists conduct and publish qualitative research, but what training in qualitative methods do political science doctoral programs offer? Do scholarly views converge on the proper content of such training? Analysis of methods curricula and syllabi from 25 leading US political science doctoral programs reveals a troubling gap: only 60% of top departments offer any dedicated graduate training in qualitative methods. Departments can remedy this disjuncture between scholarship and training by enhancing their basic qualitative methods curricula. Our research shows that scholars agree broadly on the content of such training, effective pedagogical practices, major alternatives for curriculum design, and a menu of focused topics. Graduate programs that aspire to train professionally competent qualitative and multi-method researchers now can orient their reform efforts on shared disciplinary standards for qualitative methods training.

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