Monthly Archives: May 2018

Descriptive quantitative work in political science

Here is a roundup of replies to a question I posted on Twitter regarding descriptive quantitative research in political science:

Outside political science, I can think of a number of examples, although I was interested in political examples per se, and particularly ones that are published as papers:

One thing that distinguishes poli sci from, say, econ is that poli sci has lots of books, many of which contain important descriptive work, as in this:

Nonetheless, I was mostly interested in work published in paper form.

An important class of measurement contributions in poli sci include dimension reduction, scaling, and latent variable estimation methods. This includes things like ideal point estimation as well as analyses of text:

  • Example 1:
  • Example 2:
  • Example 3:
  • Example 4:

(Chris’s last name is spelled Fariss, by the way.)

Poli sci scholars have also done a lot to elaborate small area estimation techniques and use them in analyzing survey data, as with the “MRP” papers, e.g.:

Taxonomy, that is, organizing cases on the basis of conceptual categories, is another class of measurement-related work:

Sometimes descriptive work can indirectly inform causal questions:

What I was most interested in were creative contributions that don’t apply especially new statistical methods, but are the result of shoe-leather effort that allows us to view important dynamics more clearly. Examples:

Here’s a “hard copy” of this post (which I will update again after all edits are in), for archival sake, in anticipation of potential Twitter link instability: [PDF]