Transparent Social Inquiry: Implications for Political Science

Posted: 17 Jun 2018

See all articles by Colin Elman

Colin Elman

Syracuse University

Diana Kapiszewski

Georgetown University

Arthur Lupia

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science

Date Written: May 2018

Abstract

Political scientists use diverse methods to study important topics. The findings they reach and conclusions they draw can have significant social implications and are sometimes controversial. As a result, audiences can be skeptical about the rigor and relevance of the knowledge claims that political scientists produce. For these reasons, being a political scientist means facing myriad questions about how we know what we claim to know. Transparency can help political scientists address these questions. An emerging literature and set of practices suggest that sharing more data and providing more information about our analytic and interpretive choices can help others understand the rigor and relevance of our claims. At the same time, increasing transparency can be costly and has been contentious. This review describes opportunities created by, and difficulties posed by, attempts to increase transparency. We conclude that, despite the challenges, consensus about the value and practice of transparency is emerging within and across political science's diverse and dynamic research communities.

Suggested Citation

Elman, Colin and Kapiszewski, Diana and Lupia, Arthur, Transparent Social Inquiry: Implications for Political Science (May 2018). Annual Review of Political Science, Vol. 21, pp. 29-47, 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3197109 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-polisci-091515-025429

Colin Elman

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

Diana Kapiszewski

Georgetown University ( email )

Washington, DC 20057
United States

Arthur Lupia (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Political Science ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States
734-647-7549 (Phone)
734-764-3341 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: www.umich.edu/~lupia

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