Politicians are known for their rhetoric, as in speeches or campaign advertisements.
In patronage-based systems, such as the United States and Canada in the 19th century, winning politicians replace the bureaucracy with local politicians who formed their base of support, the "spoils system".Civil service reform was initiated to eliminate the corruption of government services that were involved.Political science is methodologically diverse and appropriates many methods originating in social research.Approaches include positivism, interpretivism, rational choice theory, behaviouralism, structuralism, post-structuralism, realism, institutionalism, and pluralism.Others advance normative theses, by making specific policy recommendations. The national honor society for college and university students of government and politics in the United States is Pi Sigma Alpha.
Political scientists provide the frameworks from which journalists, special interest groups, politicians, and the electorate analyze issues. Political scientists may serve as advisers to specific politicians, or even run for office as politicians themselves. Modern political science was founded by Niccolò Machiavelli.
In a variety of capacities, people educated and trained in political science can add value and expertise to corporations. Politics is an observational, not an experimental science." Because of this, political scientists have historically observed political elites, institutions, and individual or group behaviour in order to identify patterns, draw generalizations, and build theories of politics.
Private enterprises such as think tanks, research institutes, polling and public relations firms often employ political scientists." In the United States, political scientists known as "Americanists" look at a variety of data including constitutional development, elections, public opinion and public policy such as Social Security reform, foreign policy, US Congressional committees, and the US Supreme Court — to name only a few issues. Like all social sciences, political science faces the difficulty of observing human actors that can only be partially observed and who have the capacity for making conscious choices unlike other subjects such as non-human organisms in biology or inanimate objects as in physics.
Political scientists can be found working in governments, in political parties or as civil servants. Because political science is essentially a study of human behaviour, in all aspects of politics, observations in controlled environments are often challenging to reproduce or duplicate, though experimental methods are increasingly common (see experimental political science).
They may be involved with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or political movements. Citing this difficulty, former American Political Science Association President Lawrence Lowell once said "We are limited by the impossibility of experiment.
International relations deals with the interaction between nation-states as well as intergovernmental and transnational organizations.