The Communication of Ideas across Subfields in Political Science Apr 15, 2014 By Craig VoldenErin R. GrahamCharles R. Shipan The Communication of Ideas across Subfields in Political Science What factors inhibit or facilitate cross-subfi eld conversations in political science? This article draws on diff usion scholarship to gain insight into cross-subfi eld communication. Diffusion scholarship represents a case where such communication might be expected, given that similar diff usion processes are analyzed in American politics, comparative politics, and international relations. We identify nearly 800 journal articles published on diffusion within political science between 1958 and 2008. Using network analysis we investigate the degree to which three “common culprits”—terminology, methodological approach, and journal type—influence levels of integration. We fi nd the highest levels of integration among scholars using similar terms to describe diff usion processes, sharing a methodological approach (especially in quantitative scholarship), and publishing in a common set of subfield journals. These findings shed light on when cross-subfield communication is likely to occur with ease and when barriers may prove prohibitive. PS: Political Science and Politics Craig Volden Craig Volden is a professor of public policy and politics, with appointments in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics. He studies legislative politics and the interaction among political institutions, including within American federalism. Read full bio Erin R. Graham Charles R. Shipan Related Content Craig Volden Spatial Models of Legislative Effectiveness Research Spatial models of policymaking have evolved from the median voter theorem through the inclusion of institutional considerations such as political parties, committees, and various voting and amendment rules. Such models, however, implicitly assume that no policy is more effective than another at solving public policy problems and that all proposers are equally capable of advancing proposals. Party Calls and Reelection in the US Senate Research Minozzi and Volden advance the idea that a substantial portion of partisan voting activity in Congress is a simple call to unity that is especially easily embraced by ideological extremists. If correct, Minozzi and Volden’s findings should extend from the House to the Senate, despite differences in institutional structures and in tools at the disposal of party leaders across the two chambers. Faculty Spotlight: Improving the Way We Make Laws, with Science News Batten Professor Craig Volden no longer designs spacecraft—instead, he’s engineering a metric to combat political gridlock. Volden: Experienced Staff Promote Effective Lawmaking News According to research from Batten's Center for Effective Lawmaking, retaining experienced legislative staff is crucial to Congress doing its job better. In an op-ed for The Hill, center co-directors Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman say that when it comes to congressional staff, we get what we pay for.