This article considers the quantitative methods in the study of political parties. It focuses on the most important methodological issues concerning the study of parties in V. O. Key's three main domains — in the government, as an organization, and in elections. The question of party cleavages and realignment is explored, emphasizing how this question bridges the three domains. The application of Social Networks Analysis in political science is in its infancy, but there are a number of scholars applying the method to political parties. The social networks theory of parties is nowhere near the level of rigor or predictive precision that the spatial voting theories of Congress have achieved. In general, the four areas of parties research nicely show several important problems in the study of parties.
This article uses many interest group classics as well as a wide range of new works to show key methodological concerns for the interest group subfield. Each of the main sections of this article starts with a highly condensed discussion of some classical approaches to interest group studies and then introduces some newer work with important methodological advances. It then describes the pluralism and sociological models. It also reports the descriptive work. Additionally, it explains how adopting some of the same reasoning that underpins maximum likelihood econometric methods can strengthen descriptive work. Methodological issues related to unobserved actions and counterfactuals are also addressed. Moreover, the role of information for interest groups and interest group scholarship is reviewed. The immense domain of interest group studies virtually ensures that scholars will continue to be fascinated by interest groups.
Carolyn J. Heinrich and Carolyn J. Hill
This article first presents a brief overview of the major types of multilevel statistical models. It reviews two major approaches to multilevel modeling available to researchers today: cross-sectional and longitudinal. It describes the case for their theoretical and conceptual value in the study of American bureaucracy and their potential technical advantages over more conventional approaches to statistical estimation of relationships in governmental systems. Next, the methodological critiques and limitations of multilevel modeling techniques are addressed. In particular, three of the major methodological critiques of multilevel models are explained: the causal inference problem, the argument that these models offer no net advantage, and cross-discipline transferability critiques. Finally, the article determines some of the most promising avenues for the future application of multilevel models. These include their use to promote more effective accountability systems by emphasizing performance analysis, to improve modeling of interorganizational relationships, and to investigate cross-level relationships.
George C. Edwards III
This article argues that to determine the nature of the relationship between presidential approval and congressional support, one needs to reason more carefully about the theoretical underpinnings of the relationship and employ more rigorous designs for tests that evaluate this theorizing. The article begins by considering the views of presidents, White House aides, and other Washington insiders. It then outlines the reasoning behind hypothesizing that presidential approval would influence votes in Congress. There are two basic approaches to investigating the impact of presidential approval on congressional support for the White House. The theoretical thinking is vital as a foundation for developing and testing hypotheses.
Daniel J. Galvin
American Political Development (APD) research is well positioned to benefit from advances in qualitative methodology. Drawing on those tools and research strategies more regularly and explicitly, this essay argues, should help to foster more cumulative research programs both within the APD community and across related historical-institutional subfields. Reviewing three common modes of analysis found in APD scholarship, this essay suggests that more explicit identification of each study’s main theoretical contributions and empirical limitations should help to promote more healthy debate around matters of evidence and theory and make it easier for the community of scholars to identify areas in which to build on each other’s work and make more incremental, cumulative gains.
William G. Howell
This article outlines the state of quantitative research on the presidency a quarter century after George Edwards issued his original entreaty. After briefly documenting publication trends on quantitative research on the presidency in a variety of professional journals, it describes the substantive contributions of selected quantitative studies to long-standing debates about the centralization and politicization of presidential authority, public appeals, and presidential policy making. It also pays particular attention to the ways in which recent scholarship addresses methodological issues that regularly plague studies of the organization of political institutions, their interactions with the public, and their influence in systems of separated powers. The literatures on bureaucratic control, public appeals, and unilateral policy making have made considerable advances in the past few years. There are still several challenges that face quantitative research on the US presidency.
Fred Boehmke and Regina P. Branton
In this chapter we discuss the evolution of political methodology in state politics. We evaluate the long term trends that have led to an increasing attention to methodological issues in state politics research. As the ability to conduct ever more complex analyses has expanded, the demand for methodologies suited to the distinct circumstances we confront has led the emergence of state politics methods by state politics methodologists. We illustrate this evolution in two specific areas of study: state policy innovation and measures of state public opinion. We then discuss a couple of ongoing debates and methodological discussions in which state politics scholars are making important contributions.
This article first addresses the historical development of presidential rhetoric, with a particular focus on Jeffrey Tulis' agenda-setting study of the rhetorical presidency. It then turns to a consideration of the impact of presidential rhetoric on American politics, reviewing both quantitative political science studies and more interpretative works by political communications scholars. It finally reports the directions for further work that will capitalize on the promise of new data sources to address substantively important questions. In the end, although earlier critiques of the field of presidential rhetoric for the absence of systematic evidence gathering and hypothesis testing were largely on target, the study of presidential rhetoric has made substantial progress in recent years.