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 1: Asking Interesting Questions
Good research is driven by impatience with bad answers to interesting questions. But where do interesting questions come from? Since this is the opening chapter of a handbook on research methods, it is imperative to point out at the start that there is no ‘method’ to asking research questions, in the sense of a cookbook you can follow that will lead, inexorably, to scientific ‘discovery'. There may be a scientific method for evaluating answers, but there is certainly no scientific method for asking questions or generating answers. And there is certainly room for a lot of creativity in developing interesting and enlightening research designs, and serious shortcomings to ‘cookbook’ approaches.2 Karl Popper ...