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Approaches to Social Enquiry: Advancing Knowledge

Approaches to Social Enquiry: Advancing Knowledge

Norman Blaikie

ISBN: 978-0-745-63449-4

Sep 2007, Polity

288 pages

Select type: Paperback

In Stock

$29.95

Description

Since its initial publication, this highly respected book has provided students with a much needed critical review of the major research paradigms in the social sciences and the logics or strategies of enquiry associated with them. Approaches to Social Enquiry draws together a vast body of literature from the philosophy of science, the philosophy of social science, social theory and research methodology.

It focuses on questions such as: How is new social scientific knowledge produced or existing knowledge further developed? What status does this knowledge have and how can this be established? To what extent can the ways of advancing knowledge in the natural sciences be used in the social sciences? What major dilemmas do social researchers face in the development of new knowledge? No other text offers such a clear and accessible, but still rigorous, account of these sometimes complex debates.

This second edition has been thoroughly updated to encompass the most contemporary debates about the conduct and underpinnings of social research. More attention is also paid to research practice. In addition, integrated empirical examples have been included to illustrate and extend the philosophical and theoretical discussion.

Approaches to Social Enquiry will be invaluable to advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are planning their own research or studying research methods, and to researchers across a wide range of disciplines.

List of Figures and Tables

Preface to the First Edition

Preface to the Second Edition

INTRODUCTION

1 MAJOR CHOICES IN SOCIAL ENQUIRY

Introduction

Research Problem

Research Questions

Research Strategies

Researcher’s Stance

Research Paradigms

The Status of Knowledge

Research Paradigms and Research Strategies

Chapter Summary

Further Reading

2 MAJOR DILEMMAS IN SOCIAL ENQUIRY

Introduction

Science and Social Science

Major Dilemmas

The Postmodern Turn

Chapter Summary

Further Reading

3 ADVANCING KNOWLEDGE USING FOUR RESEARCH STRATEGIES

Introduction

Styles of Reasoning

The Inductive Research Strategy

The Deductive Research Strategy

Combining the Inductive and Deductive Strategies

The Abductive Research Strategy

Combining Retroductive and Abductive Strategies

Chapter Summary

Further Reading

4 CLASSICAL RESEARCH PARADIGMS

Introduction

Positivism

Critical Rationalism

Classical Hermeneutics

Interpretivism

Chapter Summary

Further Reading

5 CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH PARADIGMS

Introduction

Critical Theory

Ethnomethodology

Social Realism

Contemporary Hermeneutics

Structuration Theory

Feminism

Chapter Summary

Further Reading

6 REVIEW AND CRITIQUE OF THE RESEARCH PARADIGMS

Introduction

Research Paradigms Revisited: Ontology and Epistemology

Critique of the Research Paradigms

Review of Some Major Dilemmas

Association between Research Strategies Research Paradigms

Conclusion

Further Reading

POSTSCRIPT: THE COMPLEXITY TURN

Introduction

Origins

Characteristics of Complex Systems

Key Ideas

The Reality of the Complex

Complexity and Postmodernism

Complexity and Research

Conclusion

REFERENCES

Notes

Figures and Tables

"Literature on the philosophy of social science often seems aloof from the practical wrangling over theoretical and methodological issues directing social research. Books attempting to bridge this gap are rare, so much credit is due Blaikie for providing one."


Sociological Research Online

"The repertoire of social research grows wider by the day. Substantive topics multiply, the technical apparatus mushrooms, paradigms proliferate and clash. And the potential for confusion in the beginner’s mind grows apace. Norman Blaikie’s Approaches to Social Enquiry has always been the most trustworthy student guide through the methodological quagmire, and this new edition confirms his reputation as the supreme explicator of social inquiry."

Ray Pawson, University of Leeds

"Norman Blaikie's book is an accessible, clear, and reliable introduction for the social research student to the extraordinarily complex set of issues and decisions in which the practicing researcher necessarily becomes entangled. This is an exceptional book, especially for its sympathetic presentation of positions and its wide range."

Stephen Turner, University of South Florida


  • New edition of a highly respected book
  • Draws together ideas from across philosophy and social theory to provide a fully comprehensive account of the underpinnings of social research
  • No other text offers such a clear and accessible, but still rigorous, account of these sometimes complex debates
  • New edition has been substantially reworked, to encompass the most contemporary debates about the conduct and underpinnings of social research
  • It also pays additional attention to research strategies, and includes more examples from actual research, helping to make the book even more useful to students planning their own research projects