Ways of Knowing: Competing Methodologies in Social and Political Research / Edition 2

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The revised second edition of this innovative textbook on methodology in social and political science focuses centrally on the debate between positivist and constructivist approaches. Lively and accessible, the book introduces a range of key issues which show how methodological pluralism can be combined with intellectual rigor.

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Editorial Reviews

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"Better than ever in this revised new edition, Ways of Knowing is a remarkably well-structured and even-handed introduction to practically all that students need to learn about broad methodological issues. The authors survey and assess such a tremendous range of literature so clearly that it will be useful to everyone from undergraduates to those training for PhDs." - Craig Parsons, University of Oregon.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230360693
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 7/17/2012
  • Edition description: Second Edition, Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,294,871
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Figures xii

List of Tables xiii

Preface and Acknowledgements xiv

1 Introduction 1

Methodological Foundations 2

Naturalism 7

Constructivism 9

Scientific Realism 12

Chapter Outline and Logic 14

Recommended Further Reading 18

2 The Naturalist Philosophy of Science 19

The Birth of the Philosophy of Science 20

Francis Bacon and the Method of Induction 21

Locke, Hume and the Modern Philosophy of Knowledge 24

The Basic Assumptions of the Naturalist Methodology 29

On Doubt and Reductionism: The Cartesian Revolution 30

Post-Cartesian Developments: From Comte to Vienna 34

Logical Positivism 38

Karl Popper 39

Post-Popper 44

Recapitulation: The Naturalist Way of Knowing 48

The Broad Joists of the Naturalist Methodology 48

The Naturalist Hierarchy of Methods 49

Recommended Further Reading 51

3 The Experimental Method 52

The Logic at the Core of Experiments 52

Historical and Definitional Preliminaries 54

Galileo's Design 55

The Classic Design 56

Exemplary Illustrations 63

Ideological Innocence 64

Media Influence 65

Collective Action 66

Conclusion 68

Recommended Further Reading 69

4 The Statistical Method 70

Descriptive Statistics 71

Pioneers: Graunt, Petty and Conring 71

Basic Concepts and Examples 73

Inferential Statistics 82

Multivariate Analysis 89

Conclusion 93

Recommended Further Reading 94

5 The Comparative Method 95

The Methods of John Stuart Mill 97

The Method of Difference 99

The Method of Agreement 102

The Indirect Method of Difference 105

The Method of Concomitant Variation 109

Shortcomings 111

Over-determination 112

Sampling Bias 113

Conclusion 116

Recommended Further Reading 117

6 History, Interviews and Case Studies 118

The Historical Method 119

Leopold von Ranke 121

Barbara Tuchman 125

Criticism 130

Surveys, Polls and Interviews 130

The Case-Study Method 133

Types of Case Studies 135

On Case Selection 140

The Utility of Case Studies 141

Conclusion 142

Recommended Further Reading 144

7 Sowing Doubts About Naturalist Methodology 145

Ontological Doubts 146

The Natural World 146

The Social World and Its Paradoxes 148

Epistemological Doubts 153

Presuppositions 153

Meaning 157

Scientific Authority 158

An Example 160

Methodological Doubts 164

Recommended Further Reading 168

8 A Constructivist Philosophy of Science 169

On Natural and Other Worlds 170

The Awakening 174

On Pure Concepts and Natural Ideas 174

The World of Our Making 177

The Unwieldy World of William Whewell 177

Disparate Pieces to a New Philosophy of Science 180

The Role of History 180

The Impact of Society 183

The Role of Ideas 185

On Communication and Language 192

Recapitulation: A Constructivist Way of Knowing 197

The Constructivist Other 198

Conclusion 202

Recommended Further Reading 203

9 From Story Telling to Telling Histories 204

The Mysterious Ways of Miss Marple 208

On Eccentricities and Serendipities 208

Social Framing 210

Scholars and Society 211

Ethnomethodology: Explaining Context 213

Ideas Matter 215

From Mentalities to Discourse 215

Patterns of Communication 220

Imprisoned by Plots 222

Patterns in Time 224

Process Tracing 224

The Problem of Generations 226

Conclusion 228

Recommended Further Reading 230

10 Comparing Contexts 231

Apples and Oranges 232

Identifying Constructivist Comparisons 234

On Laws and Patterns 235

On Case Selection 240

On Data Selection 242

Constructivist Comparisons 245

Challenging the Old and Constructing the New 245

Leveraging Opportunities 248

Hermeneutic Understanding 250

Contrasting Us with Them 252

Conclusion 254

Recommended Further Reading 255

11 Contextualizing Statistics 256

The Dark Side of Statistics 256

A Second Look at Sir Francis Galton 258

Statistics Lack a Sense of Context 260

The Statistical Worldview 262

On the Bright Side 263

Descriptive Statistics and Quantitative Graphics 263

Bayesian Statistics 271

Social Patterns of Interest 275

Quantifying Discourse 277

Conclusion 278

Recommended Further Reading 279

12 Interpretive Experiments 280

Contextual Experiments 281

Group Effects 281

Pygmalion Effects 282

Generational Effects 285

Imaginary Journeys 286

Discovering Vinland 287

Mayan Decline 289

Social Thought Experiments 292

Action Research 294

Conclusion 298

Recommended Further Reading 299

13 Conclusion 300

On Design 300

On Methodological Bridge-building 302

Rational Thought Experiments 304

Within-Case Approaches 309

On the Numerology Divide 312

References 314

Index 336

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