Theory and Methods in Political Science / Edition 3

Theory and Methods in Political Science / Edition 3

by David Marsh

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ISBN-10: 0230576265

ISBN-13: 9780230576261

Pub. Date: 03/30/2010

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

A textbook surveying a range of theoretical approaches and research methods used in political science. The 1995 first edition was reprinted nine times; the second adds a new chapter on issues of ontology and epistemology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR


A textbook surveying a range of theoretical approaches and research methods used in political science. The 1995 first edition was reprinted nine times; the second adds a new chapter on issues of ontology and epistemology. Annotation c. Book News, Inc.,Portland, OR

Product Details

Palgrave Macmillan
Publication date:
Political Analysis Series
Edition description:
Third Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures, Tables and Boxesx
Preface to the Second Editionxi
Notes on Contributorsxiii
The discipline of political science: a celebration of diversity3
What is politics? What is it that political scientists study?8
What is a scientific approach to politics?11
Connecting to the world of politics12
Is there a standard method for undertaking political science?15
1A Skin not a Sweater: Ontology and Epistemology in Political Science17
Ontology and epistemology18
Different approaches to ontology and epistemology22
Ontology and epistemology in political science: two cases32
Further reading41
Part IApproaches
The rise of the behavioural movement and its core characteristics46
Criticisms of the behavioural approach51
The strengths of the behavioural approach: an example55
Conclusion: the behavioural legacy in the twenty-first century62
Further reading63
3Rational Choice65
The development of rational choice theory65
The key commitments and assumptions of the mainstream variant68
Criticisms of rational choice theory71
Developments: where is rational choice going?84
Further reading89
The 'traditional' institutional approach92
The rise of the 'new institutionalism'94
What's new about new institutionalism? The core features of the approach97
New institutionalist dilemmas101
Further reading108
Debates within feminism110
Feminism and political science113
Critical responses to feminist political science127
Conclusion: the way forward129
Further reading130
6Interpretive Theory131
The importance of interpretation132
Varieties of interpretation134
An anti-foundational approach to interpretation139
Criticisms of interpretive theory149
Further reading152
The development of Marxism153
What has Marxism to offer?163
Further reading171
8Normative Theory172
Logical positivism and the death of political philosophy172
Interpretive theory176
Critical theory and dialectics181
Deontological theory and value pluralism185
Further reading193
Part IIMethods
9Qualitative Methods197
The role of qualitative methods in political science197
The epistemological underpinnings of qualitative methods200
Criticisms of qualitative research204
Illustration of qualitative research207
Further reading215
10Quantitative Methods216
The collection and management of data218
The power of description220
Tables and inferential statistics222
Multivariate analysis225
Beyond ordinary least squares225
Further reading230
11Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Methods231
Quantitative and qualitative methods: a false dichotomy?231
Combining research methods231
Problems of combination240
Two case studies242
Further reading248
12Comparative Methods249
Theory and the comparative method249
Basic forms of comparative explanation252
Large Ns: quantitative comparative strategies255
Limitations of the quantitative comparative approach258
Small Ns: qualitative comparative strategies260
Quantity or quality? Quantitative versus qualitative comparative research261
Conclusion: challenges to the comparative method265
Further reading267
Part IIIIssues
13Structure and Agency271
Introduction: structure and agency--a problem for all?271
Structure and agency: what's really in it for us?272
The postmodern onslaught281
The morphogenetic approach285
Further reading291
14Institutions and Ideas292
Don't worry about the philosophy...294
Why institutions? Producing a 'conventional' wisdom in political science296
Changing the conventional wisdom: reinventing institutions298
Historical and rational institutionalism300
Explaining change and stability: the turn to ideas301
Rationalism and ideas303
Historical institutionalism and ideas305
Conclusion: rival ontologies and progress in political science307
Further reading310
The importance of ontological and epistemological issues311
The growth of diversity in the formal study of politics313
Beware gatekeeping315
A plea for dialogue316
Author Index350
Subject Index355

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