Behavioralism is one of the modern approaches, it appears in 1930. Like other modern approaches, Behavioralism emerges because a lot of political thinkers who believed that the traditional approaches are no longer sufficient for studying political science. And so, due to the needs of this new perspective, Charles Merriam of University of Chicago came up with the idea of a new approach, which is Behaviouralism.
Behavioralism is an approach that believes that political science needs to be handled and studied scientifically, instead of just focusing on norms and values. The approach also studied “how individual really behave in a group” instead of studying about “how they should behave”.
The hipster thing about behavioralism is that it didn’t follow the old and mainstream way of the traditional approaches, which mainly concern about the study of institutions and state. Instead it concern itself more on studying and examining about the behavior, actions and acts of individuals.
According to Nicolai Petro in his book The Rebirth of the Russian Democracy, Behavioralism utilizes these methods: sampling, interviewing, scoring and scaling and statistical analysis. Behaviouralism also treats and observes humans according with the above methods, as it is trying to make everything scientific.
David Easton, one of the advocates of Behavioralism has indicated some salient features of Behavioralism, which I then try to understand and theorize by myself:
Regularities: This feature means that in political behavior there are -no matter to what extent- similarities, and these similarities can be generalized. This helps researchers to be able to understand people’s political behavior easier and faster.
Verification: The behaviouralists usually did some verification, which is to verify and test things before they can accept it. They even have a saying: “what cannot be verified is not scientific”.
Techniques: Like with verification the behaviouralists always uses valid, solid, reliable equipment and system in their research, so that they can get a perfect and verified results.
Quantification: next when they already has some data, the researchers must measure and quantify them.
Values: The behaviouralists placed heavy emphasis on separating facts and values. They believed that to conduct research, someone must be value-free, or else the research would be invalid or unacceptable
Systematization: The behaviouralists believed that research in political science must be systematic, they also believed theory and research must go together.
Pure Science: The behaviouralists always stated that the study of political science should be “Pure Science”, means that it must always have evidence.
Integration: The behaviouralists thought that political science mustn’t be separated from other social sciences, because they believed that political events are created because of society, thus, it cannot and must not be separated from other social sciences.