The key word, the operative word, is science. Science requires a level of thoroughness and scrutiny that exists in very few arenas. Anyone can reach a conclusion based on a set of facts or statistics, but science requires that conclusion to be placed under extreme scrutiny by other academics, by other political scientists. Only then, after being rigorously tested, can an argument or conclusions be considered valid or sound. Furthermore, science seeks to explain that which is not understood, not just in one specific instance but in all similar instances. In all of my research one thing was consistent, no political scientist attempted to explain the results of one elections or the cause for one defeat, but for numerous defeats and numerous elections over years and decades. Using this they attempted to explain anomalies, predict future outcomes, illuminate inconsistencies.
If you can explain how a bill becomes a law then you have studied politics, the political system; but if you can show what bills are most or least likely to pass the House, or the Senate, or be signed into law, based on extensive evidence to support your conclusion, then you have practiced political science.
What amazes me most is the reach of political science. Politics covers all areas of life. The decisions made in Washington have implications across the United States and beyond. As a political scientist, the research I conduct can affect those decisions, thus affecting the World and everyone that lives in it. That’s how the academic nature of political science translates into real-life applications.
As I continue my studies in law school next year, I look forward to continuing my research into political science. With the tools and insights gained from this past semester, I imagine my excitement will only increase with every new idea or new concept I discover due to advanced research skills. I just hope that one day the research I do will have the same effect on some young, motivated academic as this past research has had on me.