What they do
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 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.
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. In Western Australia therefore, they mostly work in Perth.
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.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a political scientist, you usually need to study a degree majoring in politics, political science or international relations.
All universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.