Eric D. Loepp et al., "The Palgrave Handbook of Political Research Pedagogy" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)


Political Scientists Daniel Mallinson (Pennsylvania State University-Harrisburg), Julia Marin Hellwege (University of South Dakota), and Eric Loepp (University of Wisconsin-Whitewater) have assembled more than thirty chapters that examine how to think about and teach political science research. Reading The Palgrave Handbook of Political Research Pedagogy (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021) is almost like attending a teaching and learning conference focused on how to teach the research process to students. The book is divided into four sections: information literacy, research design, research methods, and research writing. Each section includes numerous chapters written by a diversity of authors. These authors include not only political scientists, but also graduate students and librarians. The broad array of authors come from a wide cross section of kinds of institutions, they represent a variety of ranks and positions, and they also provide representative diversity in terms of gender, race, and ethnicity. One of the common themes throughout the chapters is the integration of personal experience in teaching aspects of the research process—thus, the chapters provide the audience with stories of successes and failures, reconceptualizing the learning objectives in research, particularly research methods, classes, and many “how to” guides to integrating different approaches into the classroom.

As we discuss in the conversation, The Handbook was originally conceptualized as two volumes: one volume on teaching students how to consume political science research, learning how to interpret and digest research; the other volume directed at how to produce political science research, so how to teach students about research methods and writing up their work. Ultimately, both approaches were integrated into a singular, very accessible volume that has guidance for so many of us who teach any number of aspects of the research process. The many authors pay attention to how much knowledge students have as they enter the political science classroom, and thus where we, as educators, need to meet them. Being aware of this starting point also helps to guide the pedagogical approaches that we take in teaching students about the research process, the skills and capacities that are needed to master an understanding of political science, and how to help students to learn these skills and abilities. This is a very valuable handbook for anyone who is teaching political science, regardless of substantive area within the discipline or years of experience—and it is engaging and accessible.

Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI. She is co-editor of the award winning book, Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics (University Press of Kentucky, 2012), as well as co-editor of Mad Men and Politics: Nostalgia and the Remaking of Modern America (Bloomsbury Academic, 2015). Email her comments at or tweet to @gorenlj.

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Lilly Goren

Lilly J. Goren is professor of political science at Carroll University in Waukesha, WI.

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