Basic Concepts: The Methodology of the Social Sciences (HSRC by J. Mouton

By J. Mouton

Considering that its book in 1988, this has develop into one of many prime technique textbooks in South African tertiary schooling. It presents an creation to the basic recommendations of social technology examine, and enhances books on particular learn tools and methods.

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3. A number of excellent publications on the philosophy of the social sciences has appeared during the past decade. One of the best general introductions is to be found in Bernstein (1976), while his more recent text (Bernstein, 1983) contains a more advanced overview. Further introductory texts in this general area are Benton (1977), Giddens (1976), Keat and Urry 26 (1975), and Trigg (1985). For the novice in this field, the concise book by Hughes (1980) can be highly recommended, in spite of the fact that he adopts a thematic approach, rather than dealing with different trends like hermeneutics, phenomenology, Neo-Marxism, and realism.

The ideal of the positivists in particular, was to ensure that the research process was rational (according to their definition of the concept) and logical so as to eliminate all elements of subjectivity and idiosyncracy from the outset. It is evident that this interpretation of rationality forms the basis of many handbooks on research methodology in which the research process is often presented as a highly structured and prescriptive series of phases or steps. One of the most important gains resulting from the “revolution” which Kuhn brought about in modern philosophy of science, concerns the meaning of the concept rationality.

The same applies to single case studies, unstructured interviewing or historical analysis. 32 The meaning of the term research design as we use it in this book is, however, a broadening of the accepted usage. Too much emphasis is placed upon the fact that design and planning are directly related to the degree of structure and control in a research project. Clearly, such a relationship does exist, and it is for this reason that research design will always be more important, and also more effective, in studies in which systematic control and manipulation are possible.

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