Observation, Context, and Sequence in the Study of Politics

  title={Observation, Context, and Sequence in the Study of Politics},
  author={Richard F. Fenno},
  journal={American Political Science Review},
  pages={3 - 15}
  • Richard F. Fenno
  • Published 1 March 1986
  • Sociology
  • American Political Science Review
Observation is at the heart of political analysis. Observing the behavior of U.S. senators involves watching them in two contexts—at home and in the capital city. It also entails sensitivity to the sequences of events or contexts which impinge upon senatorial behavior. Contexts and sequences of legislative life have not been observed in the rich detail they deserve, because not enough political scientists are presently engaged in observation. 

Bridging the Gap: Political Scientists on the Public Merry-Go-Round

  • R. Wood
  • Education
    PS: Political Science & Politics
  • 1986
Eighteen years of academic life interspersed among eighteen years in government has, not surprisingly, made me a devotee of the participant-observer mode of inquiry and reflection. On balance, the

Fiction, Facts, and Truth: The Personal Lives of Political Figures

In the wealth of research on politics and politicians over the past fifty or so years, little attention has been accorded the relationships between the personal and the public sides of politicians'

A Way of Life and Law: Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 1994

This address stresses the importance of the study of lawmaking. Three advantages in particular are emphasized: lawmaking is the core decision-making process in a democracy, its study offers an

Uncovering the Hidden Effect of Party

Some recent scholarship affords political parties little role in explaining patterns of legislative outcomes. Policy preferences, rather than partisanship, are said to provide the superior account of

Institute of POLITICAL ECONOMY UNIVERSITY OF ROCHESTER Interpretation and Coordination in Constitutional Politics

1 Thus Offe, for instance, contends that the "core problem" in current East European states "resides in their lack of any non-contingent 'givens' which would be suitable fixed parameters of the

Politics under the Microscope: Observational Methods in Political Research

Behavioral political science has not utilized observational methods and lacks the field research tradition found in other behavioral sciences. This paper explores the potential contribution of

The Ethnos in the Polis: Political Ethnography as a Mode of Inquiry

In the social sciences, there is renewed attention to political ethnography, a research method that is based on close-up and real-time observation of actors involved in political processes, at times

Elite Interviews and State Politics Research

  • G. Beamer
  • Psychology
    State Politics & Policy Quarterly
  • 2002
Elite interviews have long been a staple of state politics research. Improved information technology facilitates the use of elite interviews, but also underscores the need for attending to their

Qualitative Research and the Study of the U.S. Presidency

Research on the U.S. presidency is among the areas of political science that have suffered in prestige due to its alleged underdevelopment as a "scientific" field. Here, we challenge that charge, and

Field Research in Political Science: Practices and Principles

1. Field research in political science: practices and principles 2. A historical and empirical overview of field research in the discipline 3. Preparing for fieldwork 4. Managing in the field: