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Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 3 1 Research Methods in Politics 3 Philosophy and Principles of Research.

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Presentation on theme: "Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 3 1 Research Methods in Politics 3 Philosophy and Principles of Research."— Presentation transcript:

1 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 3 1 Research Methods in Politics 3 Philosophy and Principles of Research

2 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 32 Teaching and Learning Objectives : 1. to appreciate the main philosophic and theoretical principles 2. to introduce the concept of causality 3. to distinguish between inductive, deductive and grounded research

3 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 33 Two paradigms ontology: branch of philosophy devoted to the nature of being ontology: branch of philosophy devoted to the nature of being epistemology: branch concerned with theories of knowledge epistemology: branch concerned with theories of knowledge positivism and naturalism are competing ontologies positivism and naturalism are competing ontologies

4 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 34 Positivism Auguste Comte ( ) Auguste Comte ( ) final, positive stage of knowledge when rational logic and humanity prevailed final, positive stage of knowledge when rational logic and humanity prevailed application of methods of natural sciences application of methods of natural sciences JS Mill, Durkheim JS Mill, Durkheim Vienna circle of logical positivists Vienna circle of logical positivists cosmos rather than chaos cosmos rather than chaos Popper: falsifiability (fallibilism) Popper: falsifiability (fallibilism)

5 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 35 developments of positivism Empiricism: doctrine that only source of real knowledge is experience gained by the senses by observation and experiment Empiricism: doctrine that only source of real knowledge is experience gained by the senses by observation and experiment Behaviouralism: application of positivism and empiricism by social scientists to test and extend exploratory theory. Principal exponent, Robert Dahl – Who governs? (1969) study of government in Connecticut Behaviouralism: application of positivism and empiricism by social scientists to test and extend exploratory theory. Principal exponent, Robert Dahl – Who governs? (1969) study of government in Connecticut

6 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 36 Naturalism rejects positivism rejects positivism humanistic, hermeneutic, experiential humanistic, hermeneutic, experiential focus of study as subjects rather than objects focus of study as subjects rather than objects studies subjects social context, situation, language, concerns studies subjects social context, situation, language, concerns researcher is involved, empathetic rather than objective onlooker researcher is involved, empathetic rather than objective onlooker researcher is critical researcher is critical Webers verstehen Webers verstehen Feminism – critique of quantification and masculinity Feminism – critique of quantification and masculinity Postmodernism – talk and text, discourse Postmodernism – talk and text, discourse

7 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 37 Causality cause and effect: causation cause and effect: causation x (cause) y (effect) causes = independent variables, drivers causes = independent variables, drivers effect = dependent variables, outcomes effect = dependent variables, outcomes David Hume ( ): eight general rules including: David Hume ( ): eight general rules including: –covariation –constancy of association –cause before effect –variables must be discrete –non-spuriousness

8 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 38 Spuriousness spurious association p spurious association p –addivity x y x y –Intervention p+ x y p p+ x y p –Interaction x y x y –spurious correlation p p x y x y

9 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 39 Inductive research moving from the particular to the general moving from the particular to the general creative, theory-building research creative, theory-building research idealised research process: idealised research process: 1.select topic 2.choose research question 3.collect data (by repeated observation of phenomena) 4.interpret data 5.develop theoretical explanation 6.collect new data to test explanation 7.repeat until conclusions meet tests of falsifiability

10 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 310 Deductive research moving from general to particular moving from general to particular adopted by positivist, empiricist and behaviouralist researchers to apply and test application of accepted theory adopted by positivist, empiricist and behaviouralist researchers to apply and test application of accepted theory idealised research process: idealised research process: –select theory –frame research question –state hypothesis – hunch, initial answer to research question –collect relevant data –analyse and interpret data –confirm (or infirm, disprove) or qualify hypothesis

11 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 311 Grounded research developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) from critique of inductive and deductive research in US developed by Glaser and Strauss (1967) from critique of inductive and deductive research in US offered more adventurous, lower-cost research of contemporary social phenomena offered more adventurous, lower-cost research of contemporary social phenomena findings would be entirely grounded in the new data collected findings would be entirely grounded in the new data collected idealised research process: idealised research process: –select variables (ideally at random) –collect data from small sample –advance explanation –test against larger sample –revise explanations –repeat until theoretical saturation is reached –widely adopted in variants by UK graduate researchers

12 Research Methods in Politics: Chapter 312 Questions for Discussion or Assignments 1. What is positivism? What are its strengths and weaknesses? 2. Critically compare positivism and naturalism 3. Explain Poppers concept of falsifiability. In what circumstances might it be used in Politics research? 4. Grounded research: another useless US import? Discuss 5. You have been asked to explore the relationship between social class, party identification and turnout in the UK. Which idealised research model would you adopt? Why? 6. What is verstehen? Is it ever possible? In what circumstances is it most likely to be achieved? 7. Discuss the distinction between facts and truth in Politics research


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