Chapter 4 The guiding question in this chapter is: To what extent and how best can scientific method be used to better understand politics? This question came to the forefront as a result of the behavioral revolution in the social sciences, a post-World War II movement to apply scientific method to the study of complex human behavior. For the advocates of this movement, the quest for knowledge about human behavior--including political behavior--must be more systematic, more objective, more reliant on quantifiable data, and more scientific than it has been traditionally. This more systematic search for knowledge about the political world uses some common scientific methods: (1) the objective identification of a problem to be investigated, (2) the shaping of an initial hypothesis, a tentative assertion usually attempting to explain a cause and effect, to guide the investigation, (3) the obtaining and organizing of data to test the hypothesis, and (4) testing and retesting to validate the hypothesis. There are both strengths and weaknesses to the scientific enterprise as it is applied to the world of politics. As for strengths,
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