A Model Discipline: Political Science and the Logic of Representations


In A Model Discipline, Kevin A. Clarke and David M. Primo turn a critical eye to the methodological approach that dominates modern political science. Clarke and Primo contend that the field's emphasis on model testing has led to a distortion of both the modeling process and the art of data analysis and cannot be logically justified. The authors argue that models should be seen as "objects" and thus regarded as neither true nor false. Models should instead be evaluated for their usefulness for a particular purpose. Divided into two parts, the book first establishes that current practice is not philosophy-free and rests on a number of questionable assumptions. The second part focuses on the different ways that theoretical and statistical models can be useful, and closes with a defensible justification for integrating theoretical and statistical models. A novel work of methodology, A Model Discipline offers a new perspective on long-held assumptions about the way research in the social sciences should be conducted.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2012


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