Research Design in Political Science

Dimiter Toshkov

Palgrave Macmillan (Political Analysis), 2016
400 pages, ISBN: 9781137342836

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This is a comprehensive introduction to research design for university students at all levels across the whole range of political science, including international relations and public administration. It covers the key steps in the research process and explains the logic and detail of a variety of classic and cutting-edge methods.
Based on a pluralistic approach, the text endorses both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and outlines the strengths and limitations of different designs for addressing particular research goals.
Giving accessible and practical advice, without use of mathematical formulas or formalized notation, this clear and engaging book features many examples of real political science research, and will enable readers to design their own research projects as well as to critically evaluate existing research in the social sciences.


This is the best and most comprehensive text on research design in political science. It is highly accessible without being superficial, and will quickly take students from the basics to a serious understanding of research design issues. Frank Schimmelfennig, ETH Zurich University, Switzerland.
This superbly executed and truly comprehensive guide to research design will provide students with a thorough understanding of the larger research process, from the conceiving of research questions to the presenting of research results. David Lowery, Pennsylvania State University, USA.
An excellent treatment of research design that combines considerable depth with breadth in its coverage of methodological debate. It will be a first-rate textbook for students and an important source for seasoned scholars. Markus Haverland, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Use in teaching

The book can be used in advanced undergraduate and post-graduate courses on research design and methodology for educational programmes in political science, public administration, public policy, and international relations.
Some of the courses in which the book is currently in use include ones offered by the Department of Government of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the Institute of Public Administration of Leiden University, the Dutch School of Government (NIG), and others.

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Table of Contents



A wordcloud of the 60 most popular keywords of academic articles in the field of political science, based on 10,000 articles published in the top 20 journals over the last 10 years. A version of the wordcloud appears in the book on page 15.