Approaches to Social Enquiry
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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 170 x 244 x 18mm | 539.77g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 2nd ed.
  • 0745634494
  • 9780745634494
  • 268,730

Back cover copy

Since its initial publication, this highly respected book hasprovided students with a much needed critical review of the majorresearch paradigms in the social sciences and the logics orstrategies of enquiry associated with them. Approaches to SocialEnquiry draws together a vast body of literature from thephilosophy of science, the philosophy of social science, socialtheory and research methodology.


It focuses on questions such as: How is new social scientificknowledge produced or existing knowledge further developed? Whatstatus does this knowledge have and how can this be established? Towhat extent can the ways of advancing knowledge in the naturalsciences be used in the social sciences? What major dilemmas dosocial researchers face in the development of new knowledge? Noother 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 themost contemporary debates about the conduct and underpinnings ofsocial research. More attention is also paid to research practice.In addition, integrated empirical examples have been included toillustrate and extend the philosophical and theoreticaldiscussion.

Approaches to Social Enquiry will be invaluable to advancedundergraduate and graduate students who are planning their ownresearch or studying research methods, and to researchers across awide range of disciplines.
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 Tables
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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 Florida
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About Norman Blaikie

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