Political Scientist

Research and Development

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Clerical or OrganisingAnalytic or ScientificSkill Level 5

Political scientists study and analyse the ways in which governments and political systems are organised, and the relationship between government, society and the economy. They seek to resolve political problems through practical and theoretical means by offering advice to and commentary on the way in which governments operate. They research elections, laws, political groups, write reports on FutureGrowthModerate their findings, contribute to media discussion on politics, liaise with international government organisations, and provide advice to governments, politicians, non-government organisations (NGOs), and other groups and individuals with an interest and stake in the political system.

ANZSCO ID & Description: 272499: Political scientists study and analyse the ways in which governments and political systems are organised, and the relationship between government, society and the economy.

Alternative names: Political Researcher

Knowledge, skills and attributes

A political scientist needs:

  • an interest in politics and the government system

  • strong oral and written communication skills

  • the ability to stay up-to-date on current affairs

  • research, analysis and interpreting skills

  • planning and organisation skills

  • the ability to interpret statistics


Did You Know?

The Conversation 18 January 2018 states...

The Conversation

Read this article and discuss as a class.


Duties and Tasks

The specific responsibilities of a political scientist may vary depending on where they work, but most political scientists have similar duties overall. Political scientists stay up-to-date in their field to advise others and provide an overall analysis of politics as they relate to their organization. The key duties of a political scientist include:

  • Researching the current political climate

  • Looking for patterns and trends in policy

  • Publishing books, articles and reports based on political research

  • Giving strategic advice on policy

  • Collecting and sorting data

  • Predicting social and economic trends based on policy

  • Staying current with changes in government policies and regulations

  • Generating public support for an idea or policy

When conducting research, political scientists analyze historic documents, public records, election results, surveys and economic data. They identify trends in information and make recommendations on how those trends could influence their employer.

Working Conditions

Political scientists work mostly in the offices of government departments, private research institutions, universities or non-profit organisations. They usually work regular business hours, but may be expected to work longer hours to ensure deadlines are met. Political scientists may be expected to travel to attend conferences or to research political systems or situations taking place interstate or internationally. Political scientists usually require direct access to those involved in the political system, such as parliamentarians, as well as to the media.

Tools and technologies

Political scientists use computers and other office equipment. They also refer to books about political theory, libraries, databases and archives, and research reports and policy documentation. They may use audio recording equipment to document their research, and media archives to find documented material that refers to their research topic.

Educational Requirements

To become a political scientist you usually need to complete a degree majoring in politics, political science or international relations.

Employment Opportunities

Political scientists can perform many roles, often specializing in a particular area of politics like international relations, political philosophy or civics. Some common jobs for political scientists are:

Campaign manager
Market researcher
Public relations specialist
Political analyst
Political consultant

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