Methods of Discovery: Heuristics for the Social Sciences / Edition 1

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Methods of Discovery is organized around strategies for deepening arguments in order to find the best ways to study social phenomena.
Abbott helps social science students discover what questions to ask. This exciting book is not about habits and the mechanics of doing social science research, but about habits of thinking that enable students to use those mechanics in new ways, by coming up with new ideas and combining them more effectively with old ones.
Abbott organizes his book around general methodological moves, and uses examples from throughout the social sciences to show how these moves can open new lines of thinking. In each chapter, he covers several moves and their reverses (if these exist), discussing particular examples of the move as well as its logical and theoretical structure. Often he goes on to propose applications of the move in a wide variety of empirical settings. The basic aim of Methods of Discovery is to offer readers a new way of thinking about directions for their research and new ways to imagine information relevant to their research problems.Methods of Discovery is part of the Contemporary Societies series.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393978148
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Series: Contemporary Societies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 261
  • Sales rank: 740,740
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Abbott is Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago. He is the author, most recently, of Chaos of Disciplines and Time Matters: On Theory and Method, both from the University of Chicago Press. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Professor Abbott has written and lectured widely on occupations and professions, social science methods, social theory, and the history of the Chicago School of Sociology.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
To the Reader xi
Chapter 1 Explanation 3
I. Explanation 8
II. Methods 13
III. Explanatory Programs 26
Chapter 2 Basic Debates and Methodological Practices 41
I. Basic Debates 43
II. Methods and Debates 53
III. Cycles of Critique 60
IV. From Critique to Heuristic 75
Chapter 3 Introduction to Heuristics 80
I. The Idea of Heuristic 80
II. The Routine Heuristics of Normal Science 88
III. Topics and Commonplaces 92
Chapter 4 General Heuristics: Search and Argument 110
I. Search Heuristics 113
II. Argument Heuristics 120
Chapter 5 General Heuristics: Description and Narration 137
I. Descriptive Heuristics 138
II. Narrative Heuristics 146
Chapter 6 Fractal Heuristics 162
I. Positivism and Interpretivism 168
II. Analysis and Narration 171
III. Behaviorism and Culturalism 179
IV. Individualism and Emergentism 183
V. Realism and Constructionism 187
VI. Contextualism and Noncontextualism 192
VII. Choice and Constraint 198
VIII. Conflict and Consensus 201
IX. Transcendent and Situated Knowledge 206
Chapter 7 Ideas and Puzzles 211
I. Tests of Ideas 213
II. Other People 221
III. Literature 226
IV. Taste 231
V. Personality 234
VI. Puzzles 242
Glossary 249
Notes 255
References 259
Index 265
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