I am doing a research about research disciplines. I found it confusing and surprising that there are two ways to refer to "political science(s)"


  1. "political science" returns 26 million results.
  2. "political sciences" returns 4 million results.

It seems like a considerable amount of texts refers to what I understand as "sciences". Does it mean that there are many sciences?

  • This seems like a good example of where Google hit count would have very little relevance, and could easily be misconstrued. As an example, "chained Alice" returns roughly 7,000 hits, while "Alice in chains" returns over 15 million. At least in the U.S., Political Science is a common field of study at universities, which I expect inflates the hit count. – J.R. Aug 19 '13 at 21:01
  • Of course, 'science' itself is treated as noncount as well as count. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 19 '13 at 21:52

I know Political Science as the name of university courses which deal with:

The branch of knowledge that deals with systems of government.

And Political Sciences1 as the disciplines into which they are generally subdivided:

  • Political Theory
  • Comparative Politics
  • Public Administration
  • International Relations
  • Public Law
  • Why don't universities name the course "Political Sciences"? Now it seems that they are aware of the plurality of sciences, but at the same time they present the plurality in a rather false union. – Aidis Aug 21 '13 at 8:50
  • A cursory Google shows "Political Science Courses", "Political Science Programs" and "Programs and Courses in Political Science." It might have something to do with it's origins: "The first institution dedicated to its study, the Free School of Political Science, was founded in Paris in 1871." – Daniël W. Crompton Aug 21 '13 at 22:29

If you look at the actual results for the latter, you'll see that they are mostly parts of phrases like "Social and Political Sciences" or "Human, Social, and Political Sciences", so it's a context in which political science is combined with other social science disciplines and that's where the plurality is, rather than of "political science".

  • Great point Jon. It is sad that there is no way to exclude such kind of results, or is it? – Aidis Aug 21 '13 at 8:48
  • Since it's not what google is for, it's not really something that is going to be tweakable perfectly. You'd have better luck with a corpus searching tool. – Jon Hanna Aug 21 '13 at 8:54

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