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Trends in the Study of Public Administration: Empirical and Qualitative Observations from Public Administration Review, 2000–2009

Authors

  • Jos C. N. Raadschelders,

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Oklahoma
      Jos C. N. Raadschelders is a professor of public administration and Henry Bellmon Chair of Public Service at the University of Oklahoma. His interests include administrative history, comparative government, and the nature and development of the study of public administration.
      E-mail:raadschelders@ou.edu
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  • Kwang-Hoon Lee

    Corresponding author
    1. University of Oklahoma
      Kwang-Hoon Lee is a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, he is fi nishing his dissertation on the intellectual history of the study of public administration in the United states.
      E-mail:kwlst7@ou.edu
    Search for more papers by this author

Jos C. N. Raadschelders is a professor of public administration and Henry Bellmon Chair of Public Service at the University of Oklahoma. His interests include administrative history, comparative government, and the nature and development of the study of public administration.
E-mail:raadschelders@ou.edu

Kwang-Hoon Lee is a doctoral student at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, he is fi nishing his dissertation on the intellectual history of the study of public administration in the United states.
E-mail:kwlst7@ou.edu

Abstract

What are the apparent research and methodological trends in PAR’s content over the past decade? From the perspective of the journal’s 70-year history, with its aim to “mesh” practitioner and academic knowledge creation, topical coverage since 2000 reflects striking continuity, emphasizing many of the “bread and butter” administrative issues such as planning, human resources, budgeting, and public management. A marked increase in coverage is apparent in the application of more sophisticated quantitative statistical methodology, as well as in the number of female authors, while the number of practitioner authors declined sharply. Throughout the first turbulent decade of the twenty-first century, three intellectual themes stood out: evaluations of New Public Management, connections between practitioners and academicians, and responsiveness to immediate social, economic, and political challenges. Given the constant demand for usable knowledge, scholars seem to have marginalized attention to the historical context and epistemological foundations of the study. The central challenge in the years ahead will be to effectively use research methods in response to the big questions of government and society that defy measurement.

Since many [empiricists], especially the younger, do not know very much about epistemology, they tend to be quite dogmatic about the one set of canons that dominate them.

—C. Wright Mills, 1959

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