Pragmatism as a Philosophy of Science: A Tool for Public Administration




Shields, Patricia M.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


JAI Press Inc.


This chapter demonstrates how pragmatism as a philosophy of science is used in a Public Administration Research Methods Class. This class is designed to get students ready to write an empirical capstone project. Three elements of the course are developed--finding a topic, developing a research question, and choosing a conceptual framework. The notebook method, a tool to find a topic and develop the research question, is presented. Conceptual frameworks are classified into five types and linked with the research purpose, question, modes of research, and statistics. Both the notebook method and the classification of conceptual frameworks are discussed in light of their pragmatic roots. Specifically, they are linked to the ideas of Charles Sanders Peirce and John Dewey.



pragmatism, conceptual framework, philosophy of science


Shields, P. (1998). Pragmatism as a philosophy of science: A tool for public administration. In Jay D. White (Ed.), Research in Public Administration (pp. 195-225), United Kingdom: JAI Press Inc.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI