Research Methods in Politics / Edition 1

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Overview

The 2nd edition of this major text provides a comprehensive introduction to the main research methods employed in the study of politics, an assessment of their strengths and limitations, and an account of their relationship to the evolution of the discipline of political science. The text has been extensively revised to take account of recent developments in the literature and includes a new chapter on research and the policy process.

Research Methods in Politics emphasizes the value of a multi-method approach to political science and the complementary nature of quantitative and qualitative methods. It ranges widely in its coverage from elite interviewing to the use of archives and survey research, to participant observation and discourse analysis. These are clearly set in the context of the evolution of political science as a discipline and of key issues in research design and of comparative methodology. There is a substantial introduction to statistical methods and detailed consideration of the way the internet is changing research, as well as of the core ethical issues that arise in research. The book concludes with a consideration of the way in which traditions and approaches can be combined.

About the Author:
Peter Burnham is Professor of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

About the Author:
Karin Gilland Lutz holds a PhD in political science from Trinity College, Dublin

About the Author:
Wyn Grant is Professor of Politics, University of Warwick

About the Author:
Zig Layton-Henry is Professor Emeritus in Politics, University of Warwick

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230019843
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/22/2008
  • Series: Political Analysis Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER BURNHAM is Professor in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick, UK.

KARIN GILLAND is a teacher and researcher at the Institute of Political Science, University of Berne, Switzerland.

WYN GRANT is Professor of Politics, University of Warwick, UK.

ZIG LAYTON-HENRY is Professor of Politics, University of Warwick, UK.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxes

Preface

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Methods, Methodology and Making Sense of the Study of Politics 1

Guiding themes 2

Structure of the book 5

1 The Discipline of Politics 9

The diverse traditions of political science 9

Dominant paradigms 19

Political studies or political science: some methodological considerations 30

2 Research Design and the Research Process 38

The meaning of research design 39

The research process 45

The research labyrinth 53

Types of research design 55

Conclusion 68

3 Comparative Methods 69

Comparative political science: substance and method 70

Designing comparative research 73

Why compare? The advantages 80

The limits of comparison 83

Cases: how many, and which? 87

Conclusion 94

4 Surveys, Polls and Focus Groups 96

Surveys, opinion polls and politics 97

History of opinion polls and surveys 99

Sampling procedures 102

Types of sample design 103

Administering surveys 108

Interviewing 123

Coding and analysis 125

Focus groups 128

Conclusion 136

5 Descriptive Statistics 138

Levels of measurement, central tendency and spread 140

Choosing descriptive statistics 151

Presenting descriptive statistics 153

All that glitters ... 166

Conclusion 169

6 Making Inferences 171

What is inference? 172

Inference - logic and problems 177

Inferences in political science 179

Conclusion 186

7 Documentary and Archival Analysis 187

Use and abuse of secondary and tertiary documentary sources in political science 190

The analysis of primary sources 195

Research in the Public Record Office (the UK's National Archives) and the National Archives,Washington 200

Conclusion: the value and limits of documentary and archival analysis 208

8 The Internet and Political Research 213

Searching the internet 216

Electronic resources for political research 218

Online polling 224

Elite interviewing online 228

Conclusions 230

9 Elite Interviewing 231

Decide who you want to see 233

Get access and arrange the interview 235

Conduct the interview 238

Analyse the results 245

Conclusions 246

10 Discourse Analysis and Other Methods 248

Discourse analysis 249

Content analysis 259

The advantages and limitations of content analysis 264

Participant observation 264

Conclusion 281

11 Ethics and Political Research 282

The nature of ethical problems 283

Two broad approaches to ethical problems 284

Five basic ethical principles 286

The relationship with sponsors 288

Gatekeepers 292

Citizens 295

The problem of fraud in research 296

Professional codes of conduct 298

Conclusions 303

12 Research and the Policy Process 305

The demand side: what policymakers want from researchers 305

The supply side: what researchers can provide 310

The mediating effect of national structures and cultures 313

Bridging the gap 318

How could the contribution of research to policymaking be improved? 322

Conclusion 324

13 Conclusion: Challenging the Mainstream and the Qualitative/Quantitative Divide 325

Feminist methods? 325

Anti-racist and Marxist challenges 330

Theory, methods and the qualitative/quantitative divide 331

Suggestions for Further Reading 335

References 340

Index 361

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