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  1. Analysis of the Empirical Political Science    




    Critically and objectively assess one of the listed topics. The assignment should not exceed 700 words. (This is not a suggestion. Assignments 700 words or longer will be penalized). While there is a strict word limit, I expect a highly substantive final product. Do not be redundant, do not waste words / sentences, and do not rely on long quotes. This will be penalized. At the same time, reference (the references can be in any format of your choosing) as much class material, textbook material, and materials from your other classes as possible.

    This assignment is to assess your critical thinking. Please do not spend much time summarizing material that we’ve covered in class.

    In this assessment, I’d like to see your ability to professionally offer a quality analysis. I would like you to be assertive, but not aggressive. This means I’d like you to boldly put forth your view, but do not dismiss the other side of the argument and do not use sarcastic or dismissive language.

    Possible Topics:
    A) Address the Scientific Approach to Politics. Analyze the usefulness in applying the scientific method to the study of politics. How can it be useful in accumulating knowledge and what are some shortcomings of this approach?
    B) Compare and Contrast the Empirical Approach to the Normative Approach. Do you favor one approach over the other in terms of intellectual advancement? Why do you favor one over the other?
    C) Quantitative Analysis. What are the pros and cons of quantifying political concepts? To what degree do you believe attempting to quantify political concepts helps us understand these political questions?
    D) Form a Hypothesis of Your Choosing. Formulate a hypothesis of your choosing. Ask me for guidance if you’re stuck. State the independent and independent variables and identify the units of analysis that you will study. Conduct a literature review by referencing at least 4 academic journal articles (see jstor through the UB Libraries page. I can help you with this).
    E) Pick Your Own Topic. Choose a topic of your own related to the scientific approach to politics. If you choose this option, your topic must be approved by me. Please email me if you intend to choose your own topic. We can agree upon the specifics either through email or over the phone.

    See the next page for the grading rubric and breakdown:

    You will be graded on:
    1) Adherence to the word limit. You will be penalized if you do not adhere to the 700 word requirement for each part. (4 points)
    2) Your ability to communicate. You must submit a professional looking document that has been proofread. Poor writing will result in poor grade. You should also be respectful of the other side of the argument. (10 points)
    3) Your ability to use reasoning and logic to back up your arguments. You should not merely rely on your opinion, but must back up every statement or argument with fact or legal reasoning. (13 points)
    4) Critical thinking. Use the above to formulate a creative and strong analysis in your own words. You will be penalized by relying on long quotations. Quotations should only be included if absolutely necessary. Any unnecessary reliance on quotations will be penalized. (13 points)


Subject Law and governance Pages 4 Style APA


Empirical and Normative Approaches

Political science has two major divisions that help understand the theories and the structures of the relationships the exist in the political phenomena. These approaches are the empirical approach and the normative approach. These theories have depicted their varying viewpoints and are both applicable in the political science arena. One other notable difference between the two is that empirical and normative theories tend to reposition themselves in the value of art and factual views. Scientists in the political field apply the empirical approach majorly because it is said to establish valuable facts (Lipsitz & Geer, 2017), and therefore consist of a neutrality perspective. The empirical theory is concerned with descriptions about attributes in a scientific aspect that makes the approach more reliable.

In other words, empirical theory tries to fully understand the situation that is visible and verifiable in series of observations. In this respect, there is a prove of the accuracy of observations as they are really not fictions and hence more reliable (Landman, 2013). The empirical approach in political science takes the lead to determine the relationship between variables in the same setting (Lipsitz, & Geer, 2017). These make the procedure more helpful in proving situation accuracy and correctness. An empirical theory of political science seeks to determine the relationship between two or more variables to establish the underlying cause of observed or existing political phenomena. For example, an empirical theory can test the occurrence of social revolution, whereby through scientific evidence, political theorists can determine whether socioeconomic factors lead to revolutionary behaviour in different people. On the other hand, the normative theory emphasises what we ought to do or what we should do when exploring value-based aspects. It aims at determining and prescribing values from a philosophical point of view. Therefore, this approach expresses preferences for facts that are based on moral values and commitment, or universal need. Unlike the empirical theory, the normative approach cannot be described or verified through observations (Landman, 2013).

In political science, a normative theory describes the desired set of philosophical position

or outcome concerning the society or the political arena. Normative political theorists

establish theoretical approaches that seek to promote the common good by addressing the major problems affecting the community. For example, normative approaches such as utilitarianism and other rights-based perspectives consider inequalities unjust, mainly because they have detrimental effects on the less advantaged and on society. In this regard, normative theories focus on social classes when establishing the causes of inequalities. An empirical approach is descriptive, while a normative theory is prescriptive. Therefore, the former seeks to discover and explore conditions and standards that cannot be altered since they are beyond human creation. However, the latter concentrates on laws that can be changed and changed since human beings create them. Hence, these laws can easily change based on social demands. (Gerring & Yesnowitz, 2006).

In favour of the empirical approach, many political decisions have been made, and they do conform to the observations made during the process of hypothesis formulation. According to Landman (2013), politicians use words of mouth to confess an incident, and they rarely make a written statement on the incident. People in the future date try to remind them of the incident and their promise; they turn to them and deny being part of the incident since there is no evidence-based on the accusations—this why the empirical approach is attested for political conclusions and decisions in many political situations. Considering the normative theory, there is a high level of abstraction of ideas. Yet, the world is evolving at a high rate, meaning that day-to-day dilemmas are becoming useless and ignore reality. There is also the narrow applicability in the normative theory. They tend to be more of academics than the facts, thus being disregarded like in the case of practical ideas that take an actual situation to relate to decisions. Academic theories and normative approaches can lead to wrong decisions, so empirical methods take the lead in political science.

 The empirical approach is most preferred over the normative approach in the direction that people are more concerned with what they see, touch, hear or have expertise in today’s world. According to (Lipsitz & Geer, 2017), the empirical approach is mainly used to validate various hypotheses that the normative approach cannot validate in political science. The approach helps provide human knowledge advancement in different dimension since what they have seen can be transformed into actionable facts and hence very useful. Political researchers focus on the evidence of observations in their research work and extract meaningful information from such observations to conclude political decisions.

In conclusion, political scientists should consider choosing an appropriate approach during their research-based incidence studies. Basing the facts on the actual situation, it is imperative to use a reasonable method that does not take people’s doubts instead gives evidence to them in the area of concern. Since political science is a very tricky area of study, scientists must be more practical that use hypothesized material to make conclusions.




Gerring, J., & Yesnowitz, J. (2006). A Normative Turn in Political Science? Polity, 38 (1), 101-133. Retrieved from http://blogs.bu.edu/jgerring/files/2013/06/NormativePolity.pdf

Landman, T. (2013). Issues and Methods in Comparative Politics: An Introduction (3rd Ed). London: Routledge

Lipsitz, K., & Geer, J. G. (2017). Rethinking the concept of negativity: An empirical approach. Political Research Quarterly70(3), 577-589.



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