PS: Political Science & Politics

The Profession

Chapters, Volumes, Editors! Oh My! Reassessing the Role of Edited Volumes in the Social Sciences

David L. Leal

University of Texas at Austin


Many scholars discount the value of edited volumes and book chapters to the social science enterprise. Nevertheless, these unique formats advance scholarship, help faculty and graduate students achieve their goals, and enhance teaching and learning. This article therefore assesses the criticisms of volumes and chapters, reconsiders the contributions of these publications, and makes recommendations for improving their accessibility and status.

David L. Leal is associate professor of government and director of the Irma Rangel Public Policy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the co-editor of seven volumes, including the recent Immigration and Public Opinion in Liberal Democracies (Routledge 2012). He can be reached at