Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research

Princeton University Press
Free sample

While heated arguments between practitioners of qualitative and quantitative research have begun to test the very integrity of the social sciences, Gary King, Robert Keohane, and Sidney Verba have produced a farsighted and timely book that promises to sharpen and strengthen a wide range of research performed in this field. These leading scholars, each representing diverse academic traditions, have developed a unified approach to valid descriptive and causal inference in qualitative research, where numerical measurement is either impossible or undesirable. Their book demonstrates that the same logic of inference underlies both good quantitative and good qualitative research designs, and their approach applies equally to each.

Providing precepts intended to stimulate and discipline thought, the authors explore issues related to framing research questions, measuring the accuracy of data and uncertainty of empirical inferences, discovering causal effects, and generally improving qualitative research. Among the specific topics they address are interpretation and inference, comparative case studies, constructing causal theories, dependent and explanatory variables, the limits of random selection, selection bias, and errors in measurement. Mathematical notation is occasionally used to clarify concepts, but no prior knowledge of mathematics or statistics is assumed. The unified logic of inference that this book explicates will be enormously useful to qualitative researchers of all traditions and substantive fields.

Read more
Collapse

About the author

Gary King is Professor of Government and Director of the Harvard Data Center at Harvard University. Robert O. Keohane is Stanfield Professor of International Peace at Harvard University. Sidney Verba is Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and Director of the Harvard University Library.
Read more
Collapse
Loading...

Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
Read more
Collapse
Published on
May 2, 1994
Read more
Collapse
Pages
264
Read more
Collapse
ISBN
9781400821211
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Read more
Collapse
Language
English
Read more
Collapse
Genres
Social Science / Methodology
Social Science / Research
Read more
Collapse
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more
Collapse
Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
Read more
Collapse
Eligible for Family Library

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.

Lecturers, request your electronic inspection copy here.


'Gary’s book, never more than a metre away, has been my indispensable research companion. With its easy layout, my well-worn copy, stripy with florescent marker and pencilled notes, has been my go-to, on-hand supervisor throughout my degree; taking the distance out of distance learning. Replace daunting and impossible with clarity and entertainment. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it; it has been my gateway to achievement' - Ellie Davies Moore, distance learner in Multi-Sensory Impairment at the University of Birmingham


With more advice on concluding, writing up and presenting research, using social media and digital methods, and understanding what supervisors want and how to work with them, the third edition of this bestselling title continues to lead the way as an essential guide for anyone undertaking a research project in the applied social sciences.

Setting out a clear and detailed road map, Gary Thomas guides the reader through the different stages of a research project, explaining key steps and processes at each level in refreshingly jargon-free terms.

It covers:

- How to choose your research question

- Project management and study skills

- Effective literature reviews

- Methodology, theory and research design frames

- Ethics and access

- Data collection tools

- Effective data analysis

- Discussing findings, concluding and writing up

Packed with engaging anecdotal evidence and practical advice and supported by an interactive website featuring worksheets, videos, SAGE Journal articles and more, this new edition is a user-friendly, one-stop-shop for guidance on research principles.

Concepts lie at the core of social science theory and methodology. They provide substance to theories; they form the basis of measurement; they influence the selection of cases. Social Science Concepts: A Users Guide explores alternative means of concept construction and their impact on the role of concepts in measurement, case selection, and theories.

While there exists a plethora of books on measurement, scaling, and the like, there are virtually no books devoted to the construction and analysis of concepts and their role in the research enterprise. Social Science Concepts: A Users Guide provides detailed and practical advice on the construction and use of social science concepts; a Web site provides classroom exercises.


It uses a wide range of examples from political science and sociology such as revolution, welfare state, international disputes and war, and democracy to illustrate the theoretical and practical issues of concept construction and use. It explores the means of constructing complex, multilevel, and multidimensional concepts. In particular, it examines the classic necessary and sufficient condition approach to concept building and contrasts it with the family resemblance approach. The consequences of valid concept construction are explored in both qualitative and quantitative analyses.



Social Science Concepts: A Users Guide will prove an indispensable guide for graduate students and scholars in the social sciences. More broadly, it will appeal to scholars in any field who wish to think more carefully about the concepts used to create theories and research designs.




For Course Use:




Social Science Concepts: A Users Guide has been written with classroom use in mind. Many of the chapters have been successfully taught at the Annual Training Institute on Qualitative Research Methods which is sponsored by the Consortium on Qualitative Research Methods. Feedback from those experiences has been incorporated into the text. Each chapter provides useful, practical, and detailed advice on how to construct, evaluate, and use concepts. To make the volume more useful, an extensive set of classroom exercises is available from the author's Web page at http://www.u.arizona.edu/~ggoertz/social_science_concepts.html. These include questions about prominent published work on concepts, measures, and case selection; in addition there are logic exercises and questions regarding large-N applications.

This book provides a solution to the ecological inference problem, which has plagued users of statistical methods for over seventy-five years: How can researchers reliably infer individual-level behavior from aggregate (ecological) data? In political science, this question arises when individual-level surveys are unavailable (for instance, local or comparative electoral politics), unreliable (racial politics), insufficient (political geography), or infeasible (political history). This ecological inference problem also confronts researchers in numerous areas of major significance in public policy, and other academic disciplines, ranging from epidemiology and marketing to sociology and quantitative history. Although many have attempted to make such cross-level inferences, scholars agree that all existing methods yield very inaccurate conclusions about the world. In this volume, Gary King lays out a unique--and reliable--solution to this venerable problem.

King begins with a qualitative overview, readable even by those without a statistical background. He then unifies the apparently diverse findings in the methodological literature, so that only one aggregation problem remains to be solved. He then presents his solution, as well as empirical evaluations of the solution that include over 16,000 comparisons of his estimates from real aggregate data to the known individual-level answer. The method works in practice.


King's solution to the ecological inference problem will enable empirical researchers to investigate substantive questions that have heretofore proved unanswerable, and move forward fields of inquiry in which progress has been stifled by this problem.

Most writing on sociological method has been concerned with how accurate facts can be obtained and how theory can thereby be more rigorously tested. In The Discovery of Grounded Theory, Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss address the equally Important enterprise of how the discovery of theory from data—systematically obtained and analyzed in social research—can be furthered. The discovery of theory from data—grounded theory—is a major task confronting sociology, for such a theory fits empirical situations, and is understandable to sociologists and laymen alike. Most important, it provides relevant predictions, explanations, interpretations, and applications. In Part I of the book, "Generation Theory by Comparative Analysis," the authors present a strategy whereby sociologists can facilitate the discovery of grounded theory, both substantive and formal. This strategy involves the systematic choice and study of several comparison groups. In Part II, The Flexible Use of Data," the generation of theory from qualitative, especially documentary, and quantitative data Is considered. In Part III, "Implications of Grounded Theory," Glaser and Strauss examine the credibility of grounded theory. The Discovery of Grounded Theory is directed toward improving social scientists' capacity for generating theory that will be relevant to their research. While aimed primarily at sociologists, it will be useful to anyone Interested In studying social phenomena—political, educational, economic, industrial— especially If their studies are based on qualitative data.
©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.