Principles of Methodology
Research Design in Social Science
- Perri 6 - Queen Mary, University of London, UK
- Christine Bellamy - Nottingham Trent University, UK
Most existing textbooks deal with methods, or sound ways of collecting and analysing data to generate findings. In contrast, this innovative book shows how an understanding of methodology allows us to design research so that findings can be used to answer interesting research questions and to build and test theories.
Most important things in social research (e.g., beliefs, institutions, interests, practices and social classes) cannot be observed directly. This book explains how empirical research can nevertheless be designed to make sound inferences about their nature, effects and significance.
The authors examine what counts as good description, explanation and interpretation, and how they can be achieved by striking intelligent trade-offs between competing design virtues.
• why methodology matters;
• what philosophical arguments show us about inference;
• competing virtues of good research design;
• purposes of theory, models and frameworks;
• forming researchable concepts and typologies;
• explaining and interpreting: inferring causation, meaning and significance; and
• combining explanation and interpretation.
The book is essential reading for new researchers faced with the practical challenge of designing research. Extensive examples and exercises are provided, based on the authors' long experience of teaching methodology to multi-disciplinary groups.
Perri 6 is Professor of Social Policy in the Graduate School in the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at Nottingham Trent University.
Chris Bellamy is Emeritus Professor of Public Administration in the Graduate School, Nottingham Trent University.
'This is not just another methods book – it is ground-breaking in its comprehensiveness about what methodology is and what it is not.'
'I would recommend this book to any member of the SRA whether in academia, local government, central government or market research; in short anyone concerned with collecting data about the social world and trying to make sense of it.'
A well written, helpful text for both undergraduates and postgraduates.
Clear explanation of the key principles of research methods in social science.
University committee decided on a different text.
This is a very useful text for masters and doctoral level students rather than degree level students. It is clearly structured and the narrative style of writing helps to engage the reader in the complexities of theoretical and methodological issues. It is a return to again and again kind of resource.
Too advanced for course as currently offered. Would be excellent for research design course prior to dissertation.
Not focused enough on the nature of qualitative small scale research in education.
An insightful text that supports graduate researchers to gain a greater depth of understanding and application of the research methodologies discussed.
A wonderful and inspirational guide to Social Science research design that never patronises or terrifies the beginning social scientist. Thank you!
This is an excellent new book which engages with theoretical and methodological issues and provides a clear guide for research practitioners in ways that many such books fail to do. It is clear and accessible and does not shy away from dealing with complex issues in a practical manner. It will be of immense value to Masters students and doctoral students alike.