French Politics

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 175–184 | Cite as

Quantitative methods in political science: Research in France and the United States

  • Michael S Lewis-Beck
  • Éric Bélanger
Data, Measures and Methods


We compare the recent methodological profile of political science work in France and the United States, applying a standardized content analysis of the research methods to leading political science journals in both countries over time periods of equal length. We find that, compared with the United States, qualitative work clearly dominates quantitative work in France, and there has been no apparent change over time in that regard during the period under investigation (1998–2013). We also find that French political science research does not offer a strong supply of mixed methods. Finally, and contrary to what is observed in the United States, when French political scientists do use quantitative methods they seem reticent about using ordinary least squares (OLS) or more sophisticated statistical methods. We see these results as further indication that the French and the American political scientists are locked in their own national epistemology.


political science France United States methodology quantitative qualitative 



We thank David Trotter and, especially, Quinn Albaugh for their precious assistance in preparing this review.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceMcGill UniversityMontrealCanada

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