Let us get numerical: explaining Political Science student preferences for quantitative studies

Alfred Marleku, Ridvan Peshkopia, D. Stephen Voss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The global push to reorient social sciences in an increasingly technical direction might have a clear labour-market justification, but the efforts face headwinds from both faculty and students. This research is concerned with the fear that students would resist such a reorientation. Much of the pedagogic social-science research seeks ways to alleviate student math and statistics anxiety, an obstacle that would apply regardless of whether students receive such instruction in their field or indirectly through required cognate courses. The literature tends to emphasise instructor perspectives, but we focus on student attitudes. Using a survey of Political Science students at 11 institutions in the Western Balkans we predict student preferences for empirical, statistical, mathematical and computational instruction. Our explanatory variables fall into three batches: computer literacy, educational expectations and perception of career usefulness. Our main conclusion is that students expecting (1) to acquire practical training or (2) to develop research skills are especially likely to embrace a curriculum oriented toward empirical/statistical/mathematical/computational applications in Political Science, an association that grows stronger as the students remain enrolled. Insofar as a programme or institution can recruit for, or cultivate, such expectations, they can expect students relatively receptive to the technical direction in Political Science education.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Math requirements
  • Quantitative methods
  • data collection
  • empirical social science
  • political methodology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Applied Mathematics


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