Political Science Now

How Political Science Can Better Communicate Its Value: 12 Recommendations from the APSA Task Force

Political science is at a crossroads.

Some people see political science as more valuable and influential than ever. Political scientists use an expanding set of methods to study a growing range of topics and to inform an increasingly diverse set of audiences about politics, policy, and government. Government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and private enterprises seek political science data and analysis. Articles and books about political science enlighten teachers and students in classrooms throughout the country. Political science expertise is sought by people who want to make a difference in their community and by people who want to change the world.

Others see political science differently—if they see it at all. Some politicians, for example, question the public value of a scientific approach to politics, policy, and government. Others question whether political science provides information that is distinct from media commentary. Many journalists who write about politics, in turn, do not view political science as informative to their endeavors. And for many citizens, the terms political and science used together constitute an oxymoron. For such people, the potential value of political science is not well-understood.

The American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Task Force on Public Engagement works from the premise that political science has great and growing potential to provide substantial value to many people and organizations. We also contend that much of that potential value is untapped.

Click here to access the free special issue Let’s Be Heard! and read the rest of this introduction as well as the 12 recommendations from the Task Force.