Methodology in the Social Sciences
- Module Code:
- FHEQ Level:
- Year of study:
- Taught in:
- Term 1
This module is designed to provide a general introduction to problems, approaches and debates in social science methodologies (broadly understood). The aim is to make MSc students familiar with prominent methodological angles and language(s), to provide both a solid grounding in the key issues and a critical understanding of them. It is roughly divided into two parts: philosophy of social science, epistemology and ontology (weeks 2-5) and an introduction into understanding and applying popular/relevant methodological approaches (weeks 6-10).
Objectives and learning outcomes of the module
- Make students familiar with the language(s) of social science methodology and provide both a solid grounding in the key issues and a critical understanding of them.
- Introduce students to basic epistemological questions, approaches and debates in the philosophy of social sciences
- Introduce students to common/popular methods in the social science, both positivist and interpretivist, qualitative and quantitative
2 hours Lecture per week
Scope and syllabus
- Introduction: What is methodology?
- The Science Question: Positivism and Interpretivism
- Post-Colonial Approaches
- Theories and Concepts
- Let’s talk about Causation: Structure, Agency and Counterfactuals
- Data Collection and Datasets in Quantitative Research
- Interpreting and Presenting Quantitative Data
- Discourse Analysis
- Interviews and Surveys
Method of assessment
Assessment is 100% coursework (one 1500 word essay and one 2500 word essay).
- Foucault, Michel (2001 ) The Order of Things: Archeology of the Human Sciences (Routledge Classics)
- Hollis, Martin (2002) The Philosophy of Social Science: An Introduction. Cambridge University Press
- Hall, Stuart (ed.) (1997) Representation: Cultural representations and signifying practices. Sage Publications
- Hay, Colin (2002) Political Analysis: A Critical Introduction (Palgrave Macmillan)
- Kuhn, Thomas S (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (Chicago University Press).
- Lebow, Richard Ned and Mark Irving Lichbach (eds.) (2007) Theory and Evidence in Comparative Politics and International Relations, New York: Palgrave
- Little, Daniel (1991) Varieties of Social Explanation: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Social Science, Boulder: Westview Press.
- Popper, Karl 2005  Conjectures and Refutations, London: Routledge
- Shapiro, Ian, R. M Smith and T. E. Masoud (eds.) Problems and Methods in the Study of Politics, Cambridge University Press
- Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1988) ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’, in Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture, eds. Cary Nelson & Lawrence Grossberg (Basingstoke: Macmillan), 271-313.
- Steinmetz, George (ed.) (2005) The Politics of Method in the Human Sciences (Durham: Duke University Press)
- Yanow, Dvorah and Peregrine Schwartz-Shea (2006) Interpretation and Method: Empirical Research Methods and the Interpretive Turn. New York: ME Sharpe.