This paper proposes a new framework for categorizing approaches to the history of political thought. Previous categorizations exclude much research; political theory, if included, is often caricatured. And previous categorizations are one-dimensional, presenting different approaches as alternatives. My framework is two-dimensional, distinguishing six kinds of end (two empirical, four theoretical) and six kinds of means. Importantly, these choices are not alternatives: studies may have more than one end and typically use several means. Studies with different ends often use some of the same means. And all studies straddle the supposed empirical/theoretical “divide.” Quentin Skinner himself expertly combines empirical and theoretical analysis—yet the latter is often overlooked, not least because of Skinner's own methodological pronouncements. This highlights a curious disjuncture in methodological writings, between what they say we do, and what we should do. What we should do is much broader than existing categorizations imply.