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