Political methodology is the field of political science devoted to developing the tools and techniques for making inferences about the political and social world. Political Methodology is a great area to learn data science or what we call quantitative social science, because its motivating and useful applications and massively diverse reach. The tools of this field are widely used in all empirical fields of political science, and in numerous other scholarly discplines. Political Methodology is usually the second or third largest of the 49 "Organized Sections" of the American Political Science Association, and includes those who innovate or apply methods to numerous substantive problems. Whether you are planning to become a data scientist, to apply methods you learn here real world problems, or to teach these methods yourself, you should be a member of the club.
Political Methodology is part of the broader data science movement, and is thus connected to the methodological subfields of many other disciplines, as well as statistics and computer science. Because political science is one of the most diverse academic areas of study, the range of methodological problems a political scientist will see in their career dwarfs that in most other fields. Political methodology is and benefits from being a cross-roads of methodological ideas and substantive problems from across academic fields.
In the Harvard Government Department, we attempt to give our graduate students the best methods training, both in the classroom and through work on actual methods research. A large portion of the top methodologists in the discipline were trained here, or were trained by those we trained. This website introduces the quantitative methods curriculum in the Government Department and highlights opportunities for students to become part of our broader community.