What does it take to be a Political Scientist?
The most important quality is a healthy curiosity and the desire to understand. The political scientist is an asker of questions and a seeker of truth. The questions posed must be answerable, at least in principle. Training in political science is a matter of becoming more skilled in asking questions and more skilled in finding the material for answering them. For those subfields that touch on quantitative matters, such as economic policy or public opinion polling, skill with statistics is essential. In more philosophical subfields, ability to analyze abstract logical relationships and to present reasoned and persuasive arguments is a valuable skill. In fields like International Relations, fluency and facility in a particular foreign language and ability to adapt to different cultures is often very helpful.
In order to secure a university position as a political scientist, some degree of formal study is normally required. This typically means at least some post-graduate work in a university. In many countries this process culminates in the completion of a dissertation and the granting of a doctorate. For some non-university positions, such as with a government agency or a "think tank, " a doctorate might not always be required. The requirement will vary depending on the needs of the particular agency or organization. One should never just assume that a doctorate is an absolute prerequisite for a particular job.
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