What Is Democracy and How Do We Study It?

Edited by Cameron D. Anderson and Laura B. Stephenson

© 2020

There are many different ways to do political science research. This book takes a core question that motivates research in political science – what is democracy? – and presents, in a single volume, original research demonstrating a variety of approaches to studying it. The approaches and related methods covered by the chapters in this book include normative political theory, positivist quantitative analysis, behaviouralism, critical theory, post-structuralism, historical institutionalism, process tracing, case studies, and literature reviews. Readers are confronted with the different assumptions that researchers make when entering the research process and can compare and contrast the many different ways that a single question can be studied . This book will be enlightening for students of democracy as well as those interested in research design and methodological approaches.

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Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 228 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Zooming in on one single research question – "what is democracy?"– this book highlights the unique ways that different approaches and methodologies grapple with developing answers.

What Is Democracy and How Do We Study It?

Edited by Cameron D. Anderson and Laura B. Stephenson

© 2020

There are many different ways to do political science research. This book takes a core question that motivates research in political science – what is democracy? – and presents, in a single volume, original research demonstrating a variety of approaches to studying it. The approaches and related methods covered by the chapters in this book include normative political theory, positivist quantitative analysis, behaviouralism, critical theory, post-structuralism, historical institutionalism, process tracing, case studies, and literature reviews. Readers are confronted with the different assumptions that researchers make when entering the research process and can compare and contrast the many different ways that a single question can be studied . This book will be enlightening for students of democracy as well as those interested in research design and methodological approaches.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 228 pages
  • Illustrations: 6
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Reviews

    “In What Is Democracy and How Do We Study It? Anderson and Stephenson have brought together an array of scholars to provide readers with a comprehensive overview of the varied approaches used to study politics. The focus on the study of democracy as the touchstone for the book is excellent, offering readers not only ample exposure to a variety of methodologies, but also an important set of questions in the process. I have no doubt this book will be a great resource for our discipline, both within and outside of the classroom.”

    Jason Roy, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University

    “Anchoring discussions of research methodology on one theoretical question, What Is Democracy and How Do We Study It? brings something new to the field which many  will welcome to help teach research methodology.”

    Joanne Boucher , Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Winnipeg

    “A novel contribution, What Is Democracy and How Do We Study It? is an improvement on mainstream methods books and will be a useful accompaniment for methods-based courses.”

    Sanjay Jeram, Undergraduate Program Chair and Senior Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Simon Fraser University

  • Author Information

    Cameron D. Anderson is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Western University.


    Laura B. Stephenson is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Western Ontario.
  • Table of contents

    1. Approaching the Study of Democracy
    Cameron D. Anderson, Western University and Laura B. Stephenson, Western University

    Part I – Democracy in Theory: Normative Approaches

    2. Democracy: What and Why
    Charles Jones, Western University

    3. Is Majority Rule Democratic?
    Richard Vernon, Western University

    Part II – Analyzing Democracy: Positivist Approaches

    4. Evaluating a Democracy: Are Citizens Engaged?
    Cameron D. Anderson, Western University and Laura B. Stephenson, Western University

    5. Conceptualizing and Measuring Democracy
    David Armstrong, Western University

    6. A Democratic Continuum?
    Bruce Morrison, Western University

    7. Membership Rules for Democratic Communities: Canada and the United States
    Andrew Sancton, Western University and Christopher Alcantara, Western University

    8. Representation and the Practice of Politics
    Rob Leone, Western University and Josh Morgan, City Councilor, London, Ontario

    9. The Democratic Dimensions of Specialized Governments
    Joseph Lyons, Western University

    Part III – Interpreting Democracy: Critical and Post-modern Approaches

    10. Hatred of Democracy
    Dan Bousfield, Western University

    11. Rethinking Democracy
    Nandita Biswas Mellamphy, Western University

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