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Empirical Research and Writing: A Political Science Student’s Practical Guide (my reading notes)

I had known of the excellent work of Dr. Leanne C. Powner for a very long time. We are both political scientists, and since I write so much about academic writing, and I have taught research methods, it was just a matter of time until I got to read Leanne’s excellent book, published by Sage Publishers: Empirical Research and Writing: A Political Science Student’s Practical Guide. It’s a book that is highly recommended, and I am happy to vouch for it too.

As I commented on Twitter, I am distracted and therefore I bought two copies: one through Amazon.com and one at the Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) in Chicago, last year. And yes, I know I should know better, so sue me.

Leanne does something very few authors do: she talks about the ins and outs of the research process in both traditions (qualitative and quantitative). This is very hard to do. Something important for both qualitative and quantitative scholars that Leanne does in her book is distinguishing how different methods, data sources and analytical techniques apply to various research designs and paradigmatic and methodological choices. This advice is pure gold.

Chapter 9 (writing up your results), 10 (peer reviewing work) and 11 (posters, papers, presentations, conferencing) are excellent, but I wish Leanne had done a companion workbook that focused solely on those components. I haven’t taught Research Methods in a while (as a stand-alone class, I mean – I teach my RAs and students how to do research all the time). But it seems to me as though this book should be taught over a two-semester class rather than in one semester. Or maybe teach the book over one semester and devote the next to writing.

At any rate, an excellent book that deserves all the accolades that it gets on a regular basis.

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