Political science—sometimes called political studies, politics, or government—is the study of political institutions, systems, thought, and behavior using the methods of the social sciences. While marked by considerable diversity, those methods increasingly rely on survey research, quantitative analysis, and formal modeling, especially in the United States. Traditionally, the discipline focused more on historical or sociological narrative, making it closer to the humanities. This continues to be the case in the subfields of political theory and, in Europe, international relations.

There has also been considerable diversity in answers to the question of what it is that political science studies. Historically, many took politics to be synonymous with systems of government; that is, with the process by which formal rules for a society are decided upon. So, the ...

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