Methodological Perspectives on Interest Groups

Scott Ainsworth

in The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199542628
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of American Politics

Methodological Perspectives on Interest Groups


This article uses many interest group classics as well as a wide range of new works to show key methodological concerns for the interest group subfield. Each of the main sections of this article starts with a highly condensed discussion of some classical approaches to interest group studies and then introduces some newer work with important methodological advances. It then describes the pluralism and sociological models. It also reports the descriptive work. Additionally, it explains how adopting some of the same reasoning that underpins maximum likelihood econometric methods can strengthen descriptive work. Methodological issues related to unobserved actions and counterfactuals are also addressed. Moreover, the role of information for interest groups and interest group scholarship is reviewed. The immense domain of interest group studies virtually ensures that scholars will continue to be fascinated by interest groups.

Keywords: interest groups; pluralism; sociological models; descriptive work; interest group scholarship; methodological advances

Article.  7749 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Methodology

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