Approaches to Social Enquiry

Approaches to Social Enquiry : Advancing Knowledge

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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.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 172 x 246 x 24mm | 598.74g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0745634486
  • 9780745634487

Back cover copy

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.show more

Review quote

"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 Floridashow more

About Norman Blaikie

Norman Blaikie was Formerly Professor of Sociology at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) and Universiti Sains, Malaysia.show more

Table of contents

* 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 Tablesshow more

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