Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research / Edition 1

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At a moment when acute disagreement among scholars over the appropriateness of qualitative and quantitative research methods threatens to undermine the validity and coherence of the social sciences, Gary King, Robert Keohane and Sidney Verba have written a timely and farsighted book that develops a unified approach to valid descriptive and causal inference. They illuminate the logic of good quantitative and good qualitative research designs and demonstrate that the two do not fundamentally differ. Designing Social Inquiry focuses on improving qualitative research, where numerical measurement is either impossible or undesirable. What are the right questions to ask? How should you define and make inferences about causal effects? How can you avoid bias? How many cases do you need, and how should they be selected? What are the consequences of unavoidable problems in qualitative research, such as measurement error, incomplete information, or omitted variables? What are proper ways to estimate and report the uncertainty of your conclusions? How would you know if you were wrong?
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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Politics
The book is marked by a very careful building up of all concepts; by clear, vivid writing; and by an excellent use of extended examples from the work of such scholars as Nina Halpern, Atul Kohli, and David Laiting.
From the Publisher
"The book is marked by a very careful building up of all concepts; by clear, vivid writing; and by an excellent use of extended examples from the work of such scholars as Nina Halpern, Atul Kohli, and David Laiting."—Journal of Politics
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691034713
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 5/2/1994
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Sales rank: 352,464
  • Product dimensions: 5.84 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

1 The Science in Social Science 3
2 Descriptive Inference 34
3 Causality and Causal Inference 75
4 Determining What to Observe 115
5 Understanding What to Avoid 150
6 Increasing the Number of Observations 208
References 231
Index 239
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First Chapter

The _Science_ in Social Science
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 15, 2009

    Do not recommend

    I found the book to contain several recommendations that are unsound for researchers. My main objection was that it did not stress the importance of a well-formed thesis and research question BEFORE beginning any data collection. The general idea put forth in the book is that you don't need a well-formed thesis, just go collect data and see where it takes you. Any researcher can get positive results by 'peeking' at the data BEFORE they form their research question. However, I would put forth that responsible researchers will NOT do this. They will formulate a research question, develop a model, select a sample, gather data, analyze the data based on the model, and report the findings whatever they may be.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2003

    Vaguely Verbose and Accutely Annoying

    Rarely have I read such a lengthy publication that takes the simplest of tasks and expands them in excruciating detail as this piece does. The book is highly over-rated as a research manual and is amazingly outdated in research methods. While it does, in a lengthy fashion, provide some useful research and statistical information, its use as a sleep-inducing drug far outweighs its usefulness as a writer's or researcher's manual. I would highly recommend to the researcher turning to this title to actively seek out other options.

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