Just Telling It Like It Is: Descriptive Work and Social Science Research

What is the role of descriptive research in Social Science? How can description, either on its own or in complementing causal work, contribute to the aims of Political Science? For the past 60 years, descriptive work has been relegated to the sidelines of Political Science, yet it is a necessary component across sub-fields and crucial for qualitative and quantitative work in conceptualization, measurement, and theory-building.

We will host an iterated two-part workshop series that includes discussion and presentations on description as a method and a tool of social scientific inquiry. These conversations involve examining best practices for scholars across sub-fields and methods who employ descriptive work in their research. More broadly, we seek to expand the scope of participation in the conversation on the value and contributions of descriptive work, both on its own and in combination with causal inference.

Our proposed two workshops begin a discussion regarding the role and merits of descriptive work in Political Science with the intention of expanding that discussion through publications and a series of follow-up panels with APSA’s Political Methodology section

Amount: $25,000