Political scientists are involved in a wide range of studies including history of political thought, the development of institutions, politics, social policy, elections, constitutional issues, government, party politics, elections and the role of parties in society. They are involved in the formulation of policies and in determining how those policies are to be carried out by governments. They also try to understand the forces behind public opinion, how they affect the decisions of people and the effects of government policies on public welfare.
Politics is not just a subject for students but there are many fields of political science. Political scientists who work at the Department of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley study and analyze political systems, political ideologies, public opinion and political behavior.
Public opinion can be categorized into two categories. First, popular sentiment or public opinion as expressed by an individual or a group of individuals. Second, policy or political view expressed by a government or other governmental institution. These two types of opinions differ in that popular opinion is expressed through the media, by newspapers, television and magazines, while political view is expressed through formal and informal institutions such as the press and other public bodies.
Public opinion and policies are determined by public institutions. The public institutions include Congress, the legislature, executive agencies, courts, educational institutions and public organizations such as labor unions and chambers of commerce. Some public institutions are formed by government laws that are passed by the legislature and others are formed by voluntary association of businesses, educational associations or political clubs.
The decisions that are made by public institutions are influenced by political action of groups. Political action influences both how the institutions and policies of a country or region are decided upon and how they influence public attitudes and behaviors.
When public action affects the institutions, it makes them work. This is the basis of political science. Political action can either change the institutions or make them work better; or worse.
Political science is important because it helps in providing a foundation for all forms of knowledge. political action and political activity. Political scientists who conduct research and write books, articles, and write for journals need to have a good grasp of political science.
A few fields of political science are political philosophy, the political science of law, and political science and public administration. There are also other sub-fields such as social work, education, women’s and minority studies, etc.
Public opinion is affected by public institutions because the institutions shape public opinion through public actions and policies. In fact, public opinion is more important than the actual institutions themselves since it determines the policies and actions that can be taken by individuals or groups of individuals.
Public opinion can also be shaped by different ways of communication. Public communication is usually by mass media like television, radio and print media which affect public opinion indirectly.
Politics can also affect public opinion in different ways that are not easy to measure. One way to do this is through informal communication. Media outlets like television, newspaper and radio and print publications are more powerful in influencing public opinion. Another form of informal communication is internet.
Through traditional forms of communication, we can tell how many people are watching television, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, or reading magazines, among many other forms of media. These forms of communication also inform us about the most common questions that are being asked by people and what they are interested in.