Political Science Now

Restructuring the Social Sciences: Reflections from Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science

Gary King

The social sciences are undergoing a dramatic transformation from studying problems to solving them; from making do with a small number of sparse data sets to analyzing increasing quantities of diverse, highly informative data; from isolated scholars toiling away on their own to larger scale, collaborative, interdisciplinary, lab-style research teams; and from a purely academic pursuit focused inward to having a major impact on public policy, commerce and industry, other academic fields, and some of the major problems that affect individuals and societies. In the midst of all this productive chaos, we have been building the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard, a new type of center intended to help foster and respond to these broader developments. We offer here some suggestions from our experiences for the increasing number of other universities that have begun to build similar institutions and for how we might work together to advance social science more generally. [Read more.]

Restructuring the Social Sciences: Reflections from Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social SciencePS: Political Science & Politics Virtual Issue / Volume 47 / Issue 01 / January 2014, pp 165-172