The SAGE Handbook of Research Methods in Political Science and International Relations offers a comprehensive overview of research processes in social science - from the ideation and design of research projects, through the construction of theoretical arguments, to conceptualization, measurement, and data collection, and quantitative and qualitative empirical analysis - exposited through 65 major new contributions from leading international methodologists. Each chapter surveys, builds upon, and extends the modern state of the art in its area. Following through its six-part organization, undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and practicing academics will be guided through the design, methods, and analysis of issues in Political Science and International Relations: Part One: Formulating Good Research Questions and Designing Good Research Projects; Part Two: Methods of Theoretical Argumentation; Part Three: Conceptualization and Measurement; Part Four: Large-Scale Data Collection and Representation Methods; Part Five: Quantitative-Empirical Methods; Part Six: Qualitative and Mixed Methods.
Chapter 19: Conceptualization and Measurement: Basic Distinctions and Guidelines
One of the key aims of the social sciences is to describe the social world. Descriptions are one of the most powerful products of the social sciences. Based on descriptions, countries are ranked as being more or less democratic or respectful of human rights or corrupt; the level of violence over time within and between particular groups is gauged; political parties are compared on a left–right spectrum; citizens are held to have more or less liberal or religious values, and so on. Much of what we know about the social world is due to ...