The SAGE Handbook of Social Science Methodology
Publication Year: 2007
"'An excellent guidebook through different approaches to social science measurement, including the all-important route-maps that show us how to get there' - Roger Jowell, City University. 'Over the last decade at least there has been an avalanche of social research methods books, almost all of which are concerned to unproblematically purvey methodological material to ever more particular market niches, often using purportedly new repackagings What is needed, instead, is the deepening of methodological knowledge and the widening of reflective discussions around social research. In this wide-ranging collection of chapters, written by acknowledged experts in their fields, Outhwaite and Turner have brought together material in one volume which will provide an extremely important platform for consideration of the full range of contemporary analytical and methodological issues' ...
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Section One: Overviews
- The Social Sciences Since World War II: The Rise and Fall of Scientism
- Interdisciplinarity Approaches in Social Science Research
- Section Two: Cases, Comparisons, and Theory
- Comparative Methods
- Historicity and Sociohistorical Research
- Case Study
- Section Three: Quantification and Experiment
- Statistical Models for Causation
- Fighting to Understand the World Causally: Three Battles Connected to the Causal Implications of Structural Equation Models
- Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs in Behavioral Research: On Context, Crud, and Convergence
- Theory and Experimentation in the Social Sciences
- The Treatment of Missing Data
- Modeling Selection Effects
- Methods for Census 2000 and Statistical Adjustments
- Quantitative History
- Section Four: Rationality, Complexity, Collectivity
- Rational Choice Theory
- Rationality and Rationalist Approaches in the Social Sciences
- Individual and Collective Agency
- Simulating Complexity
- Evolutionary Approaches in the Social Sciences
- Section Five: Interpretation, Critique, and Postmodernity
- Understanding and Interpretation
- New Controversies in Phenomenology: Between Ethnography and Discourse
- Liberal Humanism and the European Critical Tradition
- Grounded Theory: Critiques, Debates, and Situational Analysis
- Does Postmodernism Make You Mad? or, Did You Flunk Statistics?
- Section Six: Discourse Construction
- Social Construction and Research Methodology
- Rhetorics of Social Science: Sociality in Writing and Inquiry
- Discourse Analysis
- Section Seven: Evaluation, Engagement, and Collaborative Research
- Evaluation Research
- Feminist Methodology
- Feminist Methodology and Its Discontents
- Community-Based Research
- Qualitative Methodology (Including Focus Groups)
- Making a Mess with Method
Introductions and editorial arrangement © William Outhwaite and Stephen P. Turner 2007
First published 2007
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Notes on Contributors[Page viii]
Ben Agger is Professor of Sociology and Humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington. He also directs the Center for Theory there. He edits the electronic journal Fast Capitalism (http://www.fastcapitalism.com). Among his recent books are Speeding Up Fast Capitalism and the forthcoming Fast Families, Virtual Children (with Beth Anne Shelton), both with Paradigm Publishers. He is working on a book about the 1960s, The Sixties at 40: Radicals Remember and Look Forward.
Margo Anderson is Professor of History and Urban Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She received her Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University in 1978. Her research and teaching interests have focused on the history of the social sciences and the development of official data systems, particularly censuses and surveys. She has published several books on the history of the American census, most notably The American Census: A Social History (Yale University Press, 1988); and with Stephen E. Fienberg, Who Counts? The Politics of Census Taking in Contemporary America (Russell Sage Foundation, revised edition, 2001). She teaches American labor, urban and women's history, and has taught quantitative history since the late 1970s. She taught Quantitative Historical Analysis in the ICPSR Summer Program from 1991 to 1995 and from 1996 to 2001, and she also served as a member (1998–2003) and chair (2000–2002) of the ICPSR Council. In 2006 she served as the president of the Social Science History Association. Her current research focuses on the use of population data in time of war and the ethical issues surrounding public data use.
Adele E. Clarke is Professor of Sociology and History of Health Sciences at U.C. San Francisco. Her research areas include the historical sociology of biomedical sciences and technologies, qualitative research methodologies, women's health and ‘things medical’ and globalization. Dr. Clarke's book, Disciplining Reproduction: Modernity, American Life Sciences and the ‘Problems of Sex’ (University of California Press, 1998) won the Eileen Basker Memorial Prize given by the Society for Medical Anthropology, and the Ludwig Fleck Award of the Society for Social Studies of Science. Her latest book, Situational Analysis: Grounded Theory After the Postmodern Turn (Sage, 2005), won the Charles Horton Cooley Award of the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction.
Norman K. Denzin Distinguished Professor of Communications at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Research Professor of Communications, Cinema Studies, Sociology, Criticism and Interpretive Theory; received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa in 1966. He joined the Sociology Department at Illinois in 1966. Professor Denzin's academic interests include interpretive theory, performance studies, qualitative research methodology, and the study of media, culture and society. He is the author, co-author or co-editor of over 50 books and 200 professional articles and chapters. He is the past president of The Midwest Sociological Society, and the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. He is founding president of the International Association of Qualitative Inquiry (2005-), and director of the International Center of Qualitative Inquiry (2005-). He is past editor of The Sociological Quarterly, founding co-editor [Page ix]of Qualitative Inquiry, and founding editor of Cultural Studies-Critical Methodologies, and Studies in Symbolic Interaction: A Research Annual.
Thad Dunning is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale's MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies. His recent research focuses on the influence of natural resource wealth on the development of political institutions. He has also written on a range of methodological topics, including the use of natural experiments in the social sciences. Dunning's previous work has appeared in International Organization, The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Studies in Comparative International Development, and Geopolitics. He received a Ph.D. degree in political science and an M.A. degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley.
Ricca Edmondson is senior lecturer in political science and sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Her training and subsequent work in Lancaster, Oxford and Berlin allowed her to combine philosophy, politics, sociology and ethnography, in the belief that argumentation, in the social sciences and elsewhere, cannot be understood except interdisciplinarity. Previous books have dealt with rhetoric, organizations and culture; she has also published on social capital, time, ageing, health and interculturality. She co-edits two book series on interdisciplinarity approaches to the problems of modernity, and co-convenes the network on Ageing in the European Sociological Association. Recent research fellowships have come from the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh. She is now working on an international project on the idea of wisdom and its application to fields such as argumentation and ageing.
Justin Fox is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Yale University. His research interests include political economy and American political institutions. His current research addresses the impact that fundraising considerations have on the policies pursued by lawmakers. He has published in the Journal of Theoretical Politics and Public Choice.
David A. Freedman is professor of statistics at U.C. Berkeley, and a former chairman of the department. He has been Sloan Professor and Miller Professor, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has written several books, including a widely used elementary text, as well as many papers in probability and statistics. He has worked on martingale inequalities, Markov processes, de Finetti's theorem, consistency of Bayes estimates, sampling, the bootstrap, procedures for testing and evaluating models, census adjustment, epidemiology, statistics and the law. In 2003, he received the John J. Carty Award for the Advancement of Science from the National Academy of Sciences. He has worked as a consultant for the Carnegie Commission, the City of San Francisco, and the Federal Reserve, as well as several departments of the US Government—Energy, Treasury, Justice, and Commerce. He has testified as an expert witness on statistics in a number of law cases, including Piva v. Xerox (employment discrimination), Garza v. County of Los Angeles (voting rights), and New York v. Department of Commerce (census adjustment).
Kenneth J. Gergen is Research Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College, and the President of the Board of the Taos Institute. He is also the Associate Editor of Theory and Psychology, a position in which he has also served for the American Psychologist. Among his most notable books are Realities and Relationships, The Saturated Self, and An Invitation to Social Construction. He is a co-editor of Horizons in Buddhist Psychology. Most recently he has been [Page x]exploring issues in relational theory, representation as performance, cultural psychology, and dialogic practice. He is a fellow in several divisions of the American Psychological Association.
Mary M. Gergen, Professor Emerita, Psychology and Women's Studies, Penn State University, Delaware County, is a scholar at the intersection of feminist theory and social constructionism. Her most recent book is Feminist Reconstructions in Psychology: Narrative, Gender and Performance. With Kenneth Gergen, she has edited Social Construction, A Reader, and co-authored Social Constructionism, Entering the Dialogue. She is also a founder and board member of the Taos Institute, and has been active in promoting alternative methodologies and presentational forms for many years. She is a fellow of the Society for the Psychology of Women, American Psychological Association.
Donald P. Green is A. Whitney Griswold Professor of Political Science at Yale University, where he has taught since 1989. Since 1996, he has served as director of Yale's Institution for Social and Policy Studies, an interdisciplinarity research center that emphasizes field experimentation. His research interests span a wide array of topics: voting behavior, partisanship, campaign finance, rationality, research methodology and hate crime. His recent books include Partisan Hearts and Minds: Political Parties and the Social Identities of Voters (Yale University Press, 2002) and Get Out the Vote!: How to Increase Voter Turnout (Brookings Institution Press, 2004). In 2003, he was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
John R. Hall, Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis, has also served as Director of the UC Davis Center for History, Society, and Culture, and Director of the University of California Edinburgh Study Centre. His scholarly research spans epistemology, social theory, economy and society, the sociology of religion, and the sociology of culture. His published books include an edited volume, Reworking Class (Cornell University Press, 1997), Cultures of Inquiry: From Epistemology to Discourse in Sociohistorical Research (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Apocalypse Observed: Religious Movements and Violence in North America, Europe, and Japan, co-authored by Philip D. Schuyler and Sylvaine Trinh (Routledge, 2000), Sociology on Culture, co-authored by Mary Jo Neitz and Marshall Battani (Routledge, 2003), and Visual Worlds, co-edited by Blake Stimson and Lisa Tamiris Becker (Routledge, 2005). His current research focuses on apocalyptic terrorism and modernity.
Leslie A. Hayduk is Professor of Sociology at the University of Alberta. He has published several articles and two books on structural equation modeling, and is a co-author of two books on the sociology of education. He has been an active participant on the SEMNET web discussion group for the past several years. His research interests span the physiological/biological foundations of sociology, social psychology, and structural equation modeling. His recent publications have addressed issues like an improved definition of R2 (the blocked-error-R2), the development of a new class of indicators (reactive indicators), and a demonstration that cancer-fighting T-cell activity (with or without interferon-y) is better measured at low effector/target cell ratios. He introduced the saying: A picture is worth a thousand words, but is only worth a thousandth of an equation, Picture = 1000Word = .001Equation.
Susan Hekman is a Professor of Political Science and the Director of Graduate Humanities at the University of Texas at Arlington. Her most recent books are The Future of Differences: Truth and Method in Feminist Theory and Private Selves, Public Identities: Toward a Theory of Identity Politics.
[Page xi]David Henderson is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Memphis. He received his Ph.D. from Washington University in St Louis. He has published numerous articles in the philosophy of the social sciences, many focusing on questions concerning the role of rationality in the social and psychological sciences. Some of this work coalesced in Interpretation and Explanation in the Human Sciences (1993). He has produced related work on conceptual schemes, and on the respective roles in interpretive understanding of empirical results and of capacities for simulating others. Recent publications have also addressed central issues in epistemology. These include an account of objectively justified belief (one that makes principled room for both coherentist and foundationalist themes), discussions of the implications of recent work in cognitive science for contemporary epistemology, and a revisionist account of a priori knowledge. Much of his work in epistemology has been undertaken jointly with Terrence Horgan of the University of Arizona.
David C. Howell is Emeritus Professor at the University of Vermont. After gaining his Ph.D. from Tulane University in 1967, he was on the faculty of the Department of Psychology at the University of Vermont. He retired as chair of the department in 2002. He also spent two separate years as Visiting Professor at the Universities of Durham and Bristol in the United Kingdom. Professor Howell is the author of several books and many journal papers, and he continues to write and serve on editorial boards even after retiring. His latest project was the Encyclopedia of Statistics in Behavioral Science, of which he and Brian Everitt were editors-in-chief. Professor Howell now lives in Colorado, where he has all of the outdoor recreational opportunities anyone could want, as well as the time to remain professionally active.
Douglas Kellner is George F. Kneller Chair in the Philosophy of Education at UCLA and is the author of many books on social theory, politics, history and culture, including works in cultural studies such as Media Culture and Media Spectacle; a trilogy of books on postmodern theory with Steve Best; a trilogy of books on the Bush administration, including Grand Theft 2000, From 9/11 to Terror War, and his latest text Media Spectacle and the Crisis of Democracy. His website is at http://www.gseis.ucla.edu/faculty/kellner/kellner.html.
Julie Thompson Klein is Professor of Humanities in the Department of Interdisciplinarity Studies at Wayne State University. She has also held visiting posts in Japan, Nepal and New Zealand; was a Senior Fellow at the Association of American Colleges and Universities; and received the final prize in the Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation's international competition for new research models and the Kenneth Boulding Award for outstanding scholarship on interdisciplinarity. Klein has served on numerous national and international task forces and advisory groups on interdiscipinary and transdisciplinarity approaches to research, education and problem-solving. Her authored and edited books include Interdisciplinarity: History, Theory, and Practice (1990), Interdisciplinarity Studies Today (1994), Crossing Boundaries: Knowledge, Disciplinarities, and Interdisciplinarities (1996), Transdisciplinarity: Joint Problem Solving among Science, Technology, and Society (2001), Interdisciplinarity Education in K-12 and College (2002), the monograph Mapping Interdisciplinarity Studies (1999), and Humanities, Culture, and Interdisciplinarity: The Changing American Academy (2005).
Hans-Herbert Kögler is Chair Professor of Philosophy at the University of North Florida, Jacksonville. He received his Dr. Phil. at the Goethe University of Frankfurt (advisor J. Habermas) after graduate studies at Northwestern, the New School, and the University of California at Berkeley. His research centers on the methodological grounds of understanding and criticism in the human and social sciences, a hermeneutic theory of cultural self-identity and the normative implications of interpretation. Major publications include The Power of Dialogue: [Page xii]Critical Hermeneutics after Gadamer and Foucault, (1999); Michel Foucault (2nd edition, 2004) and the co-edited volume Empathy and Agency: The Problem of Understanding in the Human Sciences (2000). In 1997, the journal Social Epistemology dedicated a special issue to Kögler's article ‘Alienation as Epistemological Source: Reflexivity and Social Background after Mannheim and Bourdieu’. His further work includes many journal articles and book chapters in English and German as well as translations into Czech, Russian, and French. He has been invited to serve as guest professor at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria, and the Czech Academy of Social Sciences, Prague. Since 2005 Kögler has coordinated the newly inaugurated graduate program M.A. in Practical Philosophy & Applied Ethics at UNF.
John Law is a Professor at Lancaster University in Sociology and the Centre for Science Studies. With a background in both sociology and Science, Technology and Society (STS), he is interested in disorder, multiple orderings and materialities. He works primarily on nature and culture, agriculture, spatiality, and catastrophes, and he is currently exploring the 2001 UK foot and mouth epizootic. His most recent book, After Method (Routledge, 2004), is on methodologies for knowing disorderly phenomena, and it brings together humanities and social science insights to propose a much more generous and inclusive understanding of research method that is able to deal with ‘mess’. His website is at http://www.lancs.ac.uk/fss/sociology/staff/law/law.htm.
Tyson Lewis received his Ph.D. in educational philosophy from UCLA in 2006 and is currently an assistant professor of education at Montclair State University. His work in the fields of educational theory and cultural studies has appeared in such journals as Educational Theory, Educational Philosophy and Theory, The Philosophy of Education Society's Yearbook, Utopian Studies (with Richard Kahn), and Cultural Critique (with Daniel Cho). Currently his research focuses on the relation between critical theory, critical pedagogy and the emerging field of biopolitics.
Michael Lynch is a Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Science & Technology Studies, Cornell University. As a student and collaborator of Harold Garfinkel, he took an ethnomethodological approach to natural science practices during doctoral and postdoctoral studies at UC, Irvine and UCLA. His book, Art and Artifact in Laboratory Science (1985) was part of the first wave of ethnographic studies of laboratories in social studies of science. His book, Scientific Practice and Ordinary Action (1993), critically reviewed research in ethnomethodology and social studies of science, and recommended non-foundational empirical investigations of the topics of epistemology: practices of measurement, observation and representation in specific settings of ordinary and scientific inquiry. The book won the 1995 Robert K. Merton Professional Award from the American Sociological Association. His current research examines the interplay between law and science in criminal cases involving DNA evidence. He is currently editor of Social Studies of Science, and was recently elected president of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S).
Peter T. Manicas is currently Director of Interdisciplinarity Studies at the University of Hawai'i at Mänoa. He has published widely in the philosophy of social science, and social and political philosophy. In addition to many articles published in range of academic disciplines, his books include: A History and Philosophy of the Social Sciences (1987), War and Democracy (1989), Social Process in Hawai'i: A Reader (2004), Globalization and Higher Education (with Jaishree K. Odin, 2004) and, most recently, A Realist Philosophy of Social Science (2006).
Jon P. Mitchell is Reader in Anthropology at the University of Sussex. He has written on the anthropology of politics and identity, religion and ritual, performance, memory and modernity, primarily in the Mediterranean context of Malta. His books include Ambivalent Europeans: [Page xiii]Ritual, memory and the public sphere in Malta (Routledge, 2002), Powers of Good and Evil: Social transformation and popular belief (ed., with Paul Clough, Berghahn, 2002), Human Rights in Global Perspective (ed., with Richard Ashby Wilson, Routledge, 2003), and a special issue of Journal of Mediterranean Studies, ‘Modernity in the Mediterranean’ (2002). He is currently working with Helena Wulff (Stockholm) and Marit Melhuus (Oslo) on an edited volume on the current state of ethnography in anthropological research, entitled Present Ethnography.
Nancy A. Naples is Professor of Sociology and Women's Studies at the University of Connecticut where she teaches courses on qualitative methodology; contemporary social theory; feminist theory; feminist methodology; sexual citizenship; gender, politics and the state; and women's activism and globalization, She is author of Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Feminist Research (Routledge, 2003) and Grassroots Warriors: Activist Mothering, Community Work, and the War on Poverty (Routledge, 1998). She is also editor of Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing Across Race, Class, and Gender (Routledge, 1998) and co-editor of Women's Activism and Globalization: Linking Local Struggles with Transnational Politics (with Manisha Desai) and Teaching Feminist Activism (with Karen Bojar), both published by Routledge in 2002. Her next book, Restructuring the Heartland: Racialization and the Social Regulation of Citizenship, reports on a long-term ethnographic study of economic and social restructuring in two small towns in Iowa. She is currently working on a comparative intersectional analysis of sexual citizenship and immigration policies.
Maureen A. O'Malley is currently a Research Fellow at Egenis, University of Exeter, where she examines philosophical and sociological issues in microbiology and systems biology. This work builds on her years in Ford Doolittle's lab at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she studied evolutionary microbiology and was part of the university's interdisciplinarity Evolutionary Study Group (http://evolutionstudygroup.biology.dal.ca/contents.html). The chapter she wrote for this anthology was greatly informed by involvement in that group's discussions and also draws on her earlier Ph.D. work, which compared a variety of evolutionary approaches in the social sciences and humanities with evolutionary biology.
William Outhwaite studied at the Universities of Oxford and Sussex, where he taught for over thirty years, and is now Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University. He is the author of Understanding Social life: The Method Called Verstehen (Allen & Unwin, 1975, second edition Jean Stroud, 1986); Concept Formation in Social Science (Routledge, 1983); New Philosophies of Social Science: Realism, Hermeneutics and Critical Theory (Macmillan, 1987); Habermas. A Critical Introduction (Polity Press, 1994), The Future of Society (Blackwell, 2006), and (with Larry Ray) Social Theory and Postcommunism (Blackwell, 2005). He edited The Habermas Reader (Polity Press, 1996); (with Tom Bottomore) The Blackwell Dictionary of Twentieth-Century Social Thought (Blackwell, 1993); The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought (Blackwell, 1993); (with Luke Martell) The Sociology of Politics (Edward Elgar, 1998), and (with Margaret Archer) Defending Objectivity (Routledge, 2004). He is currently working on a book on Europe in society.
Piya Pangsapa is Assistant Professor in Women's Studies, University of Buffalo (SUNY) and researches gender, work and civic engagement in South East Asia. She is the author of Textures of Struggle (2007) as well as articles and papers on migration, women's rights and labor standards, ethnographic research methods and the cultural inclusivity of American universities. Her current work considers the impact of corporate responsibility on the global supply chain, the changing nature of factory production, and the status and citizenship rights of migrant workers. Her collaborative work with Mark J. Smith focuses on the construction of activist networks [Page xiv]between NGOs, policy-making communities, state authorities, community groups, and local and regional campaigns on gender, labor and environmental issues, highlighting the importance of advocacy and leadership in the implementation and sustained monitoring of codes of responsible conduct in both developed and developing societies.
Hannah Pazderka-Robinson received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta. In 2004, she was awarded a one-month fellowship to study the human frontal lobes from the International Neuropsychological Society. She is interested in a number of different methodologies, including structural equation modeling, neuropsychological assessment, and electrophysiology. Her research interests are primarily in the area of mental health, particularly addictions and impulse control disorders. She is currently employed with the Alberta Mental Health Board as their Science and Academic Lead, and is affiliated with the University of Alberta as a sessional lecturer in psychology and a clinical lecturer in psychiatry. Her work has appeared in a number of journals including Structural Equation Modeling, the International Journal of Psychophysiology, Psychopharmacology, BMC Medical Research Methodology, and the Canadian Journal of Public Health.
Jennifer Platt is emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Sussex. Her research interests are in the history and sociology of sociology, and in aspects of research methods, including their history. Her relevant publications include ‘Cases of cases … of cases?’ (1992), ‘“Case study” in American methodological thought’ (1992), A History of Sociological Research Methods in America, 1920–1960 (1996), and ‘The history of the interview’ (2002). She has been president of the British Sociological Association and of the ISA Research Committee on the History of Sociology, and is now Chair-Elect of the American Sociological Association Section on the History of Sociology.
Charles C. Ragin holds a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Arizona. In 2000/1 he was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University, and before that he was Professor of Sociology and Political Science at Northwestern University. His main interests are methodology, political sociology and comparative-historical research, with a special focus on such topics as the welfare state, ethnic political mobilization and international political economy. His books include Fuzzy-Set Social Science (University of Chicago Press), The Comparative Method: Moving Beyond Qualitative and Quantitative Strategies (University of California Press), Issues and Alternatives in Comparative Social Research (E.J. Brill), What is a Case? Exploring the Foundations of Social Research (Cambridge University Press, with Howard S. Becker), and Constructing Social Research: The Unity and Diversity of Method (Pine Forge Press). He is also the author of more than a hundred articles in research journals and edited books, and he has developed two software packages for set-theoretic analysis of social data: Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) and Fuzzy-Set/Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA). He has been awarded the Stein Rokkan Prize of the International Social Science Council, the Donald Campbell Award for Methodological Innovation by the Policy Studies Organization, and received honorable mention for the Barrington Moore, Jr. Award of the American Sociological Association. He has conducted academic workshops on methodology in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and for diverse audiences in the United States.
Michael Root is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Philosophy of Social Science: The Methods, Ideals and Politics of Social Inquiry (Blackwell, 1993) and a number of articles on the use of racial classification in the social and biomedical sciences, including ‘Race in the Social Sciences’ (2007) and ‘The Number of Black [Page xv]Widows in the National Academy of Sciences’ (2006). Besides his writing on issues in the philosophy of the social sciences, Root has written on the role of testimony in the transmission and confirmation of theories in the natural sciences.
Katherine E. Ryan is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois. Her research interests include examining how democratic evaluation approaches might address educational accountability issues and high stakes assessment.
R. Keith Sawyer is Associate Professor of Education at Washington University in St. Louis. He studies creativity, collaboration, and learning. Dr. Sawyer's research focuses on the common elements to all three: improvisation and emergence. He has published over fifty articles and nine books, including Social Emergence: Societies as Complex Systems (2005, Cambridge) and Explaining Creativity: The Science of Human Innovation (2006, Oxford).
Sandra L. Schneider is Professor of Cognitive & Neural Sciences (CNS), Department of Psychology, University of South Florida. She recently transitioned from her position as Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship at the University of South Florida to her current assignment as Division Director, Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences, National Science Foundation. Her research focuses on cognitive and motivational processes in decision making. She edited, with J. Shanteau (2003), Emerging Perspectives on Judgment and Decision Research, and has most recently published in the American Psychologist, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, the Journal of Behavioral Decision Making, the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, and Behavioral and Brain Sciences among others.
Thomas Schwinn is Professor of Sociology at the University of Eichstaett-Ingolstadt. He received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in theoretical sociology comparing Max Weber, Alfred Schütz and Talcott Parsons. His research interests include differentiation and integration theory, micro-macro-links, systems and action theories, social inequality. Recently his research has focused on multiple modernities in the process of globalization. His most recent articles and books are on Premises and Forms of World Culture and Diversity and Unity of Modernity.
Michael Scriven is currently Director of the Interdisciplinarity Evaluation Program, Associate Director of the Evaluation Center, and Professor of Philosophy at Western Michigan University. Prior to that he was Professor of Evaluation at Auckland University, New Zealand, and Professor of Psychology at Claremont Graduate University. Recent and current research, in press or in print, includes: ‘Causation without Experimentation’, ‘Ex Ante vs. Ex Post Evaluation of Researchers’, ‘Hard-Core Qualitative Research Methods’, ‘Program Evaluation: An Introduction and an Extension’, ‘The Problem of Free Will in Program Evaluation’, and ‘The Philosophy of Informal Logic and Critical Thinking’.
Jane Sell is Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University, College Station. She was a deputy editor of Social Psychology Quarterly, has served on the editorial board of the American Sociological Review, and is past chair of the Social Psychology Section of the American Sociological Association. Her research focuses upon cooperation within public and resource good contexts, and different factors that affect the generation or decay of inequality in group settings. With Murray Webster, Jr., she has edited Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences, published by Elsevier Press.
Mark J. Smith is Senior Lecturer in Politics & International Studies at the Open University and researches environmental responsibility, transnational corporations, civic engagement and [Page xvi]the role of ethics in politics and the environment. An advocate of transdisciplinarity and participatory research, he argues that issues of social and environmental justice are best understood in the context of application. He is author or editor of thirteen books including Ecologism: Towards Ecological Citizenship (1998), Social Science in Question (1998), Thinking through the Environment (1999), Rethinking State Theory (2000) and Culture: Reinventing the Social Sciences (2000) as well as many chapters and articles on environmental politics, global relations and corporate responsibility, including ‘Social movements in Europe’ (2002), ‘Transforming international order’ (2004), ‘Taking part in politics’ (2004), ‘Territories of knowledge’ (2005), and ‘Obligation and ecological citizenship’ (2006). His work is translated in Europe and Asia, including Manual de Ecologismo (Instituto Piaget, 2002) and La Cultura (Cittá Aperta, 2005). Formerly at Sussex University, his visiting professorships include the University of Oslo and Norwegian Business School. His current work considers environmental citizenship and civic engagement in Asia, America and Europe, and he collaborates with Dr. Piya Pangsapa on the impact of the global supply chain and the UN Global Compact on corporate obligations to human rights, labor standards and environmental sustainability in Southeast Asia.
Stephen P. Turner is Graduate Research Professor in Philosophy at the University of South Florida, where he is also appointed in the Department of Management. His writings on methodology have ranged from issues in explanation, in such books as Sociological Explanation as Translation (1980) to issues of theory construction and issues with statistical approaches to causality, including Causality in Crisis? Statistical Methods and Causal Knowledge in the Social Sciences (1997, co-edited with Vaughn McKim). He has dealt with methodological issues in such fields as organization studies and international relations. He has also written extensively on the history of methodology, especially of statistics and probabilistic thinking, including writings on Comte, Mill, Quetelet and Durkheim, and on the origins of quantitative sociology in the United States. He was co-editor of the Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Social Science (2003, with Paul Roth) and Philosophy of Anthropology and Sociology (2007, with Mark Risjord) in the Handbook of Philosophy of Science series.
Murray Webster, Jr. is professor of sociology at UNC Charlotte. He is a member of the editorial boards of Social Science Research and Sociological Methodology, and past chair of the Social Psychology and the Theory Sections of the American Sociological Association. He has served as Program Director for Sociology at the National Science Foundation, and has been a member of the Sociology Advisory Panel at NSF. With Jane Sell, he edited a book, Laboratory Experiments in the Social Sciences, published by Elsevier Press in 2007. Other recent work includes a book chapter on status processes with Joseph Berger, papers on gender status beliefs with Lisa Rashotte, and papers on philosophy and operations in experimental methods.
Kenneth W. Wachter is Professor of Demography and Statistics and Chair of the Department of Demography at the University of California, Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in Statistics from Cambridge University (Trinity). He is a member of the National Academy of Science and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He chairs the Committee on Population of the National Research Council. Among other volumes, he is the author with R. Floud and A. Gregory of Height, Health, and History (1990) and editor with C. Finch of Between Zeus and the Salmon (1997). His research interests include mathematical demography, the biodemography of aging, federal statistical policy, kinship and microsimulation. He served on the Special Advisory Panel to the Secretary of Commerce on (1990) Census Adjustment, as a consultant to the Secretary of Commerce on 2000 Census Adjustment, and as an expert witness in litigation over possible adjustment of the censuses of 1980 and 1990.
General Introduction[Page 1]
This handbook is designed to meet the needs of disciplinarity and non-disciplinarity, problem-oriented social inquirers for a comprehensive overview of the critical issues in the methodology of the social sciences and its various and often extremely complex and controversial literatures. In the social sciences the term ‘methodology’ tends to indicate two increasingly differentiated areas of work—first, methodological issues arising from and related to theoretical perspectives, as in Marxist, functionalist or feminist methodology; and, second, issues of specific research techniques, concepts and methods. A glance at the contents of this book will show that we aim to cover both these fields. Our understanding of the needs of the reader, and thus of the content of the volume, however, requires some explanation.
The world cannot be said to suffer a shortage of works on either of the two kinds of methodology mentioned above. Books explaining techniques and even handbooks on various methods or kinds of methods are common. Nevertheless, there is a daunting problem for the student or practitioner, as well as for the senior scholar. The problems and disputes over methods are usually not readily accessible. A person trained in a psychology department program in behavioral science methods will, for example, be told that there are ‘assumptions’ in the kinds of experimental designs that are taught in these programs. But the same person may never be aware of the large and important technical literature on ‘selection bias’, a specific problem with the assumptions that routinely undermines the applications of these methods—for example, to such standard problems as evaluating the effectiveness of a social service program. Similarly, the readers of published research reports on such topics as the effectiveness of particular social interventions, even if they are reasonably sophisticated, will find it difficult to know what questions an appropriately skeptical reader should ask about the research design.
This volume is an attempt to make these kinds of issues accessible. One way of doing this is by providing technical chapters on a [Page 2]range of interrelated problems that plague causal inference. The approach is not to provide ‘solutions’, though solutions to many of the problems are discussed. The approach is to explain the kinds of problems that routinely arise in these settings, and the tradeoffs that researchers are routinely compelled to make in order to come up with the results that are presented as fact. At this level of methodological detail, matters are seldom as simple as textbooks make them appear. Things that we think we know—for example, that minorities are greatly under-reported by the US Census, turn out to depend on reasoning that is more problematic than the original enumeration. Knowing why is crucial to reading in a sophisticated way.
A second daunting problem is the sheer variety of methodological approaches, especially qualitative approaches. These present some different problems of explication. What is ‘cultural studies’? What are the distinctive background ideas and theories that motivate it? Why do its practitioners not just do surveys? What is ‘grounded theory’? Answering these questions often requires a bit of historical background, and typically requires an introduction to the motivating theoretical ideas.
In each case, however, we have tried to ensure that contributors keep an eye on broader perspectives as well as on the specific topic with which they are dealing. Thus, as Adele Clarke (Chapter 23) notes in her chapter in this book, the relatively delimited approach of ‘grounded theory’ raises central questions about the overall orientation of the social sciences. In Denzin and Ryan's discussion (see Chapter 32) of the focused interview, they explain the way in which this familiar method has become a means of recognizing and accounting for the ‘postmodernist’ recognition of ‘different voices’. In discussing the idea of feminist methodology, we have been concerned both to have the theoretical background of such ideas as standpoint theory explained (see Chapter 29), and also, in a second chapter, to discuss the kinds of problems that arise in actual attempts at collaborative action research in the face of different voices (see Chapter 30).
One of the authors we recruited for the volume, after having its purpose explained, replied: ‘I see what you are doing: you are surveying the new geography of knowledge.’ This volume is an attempt to cover a much wider range of approaches and problems than methodology books have traditionally included. One innovative feature of the volume is the extensive discussion of the new situation in which the knowledge of the subjects of the research is incorporated into the research and in which scholars are engaged researchers collaborating with their subjects. We have tried to cover the main problems on which a developed literature exists. But the sheer variety of topics that the omnivorous reader is likely to encounter extends beyond this volume, and will continue to expand. Methodological controversy has gone far beyond the simple conflicts over ‘positivism’ of the sixties. This volume is an introduction to that transformation.