Methods in Social Science: A Case Book

Methods in Social Science: A Case Book

Methods in Social Science: A Case Book

Methods in Social Science: A Case Book

Excerpt

This volume comprises a series of interpretations of the scientific methods employed by authors of significant contributions to social science. In most instances these interpretations are case analyses, that is, each relates to a specific piece of work by a specific individual author. Exceptions to this general criterion are frequent and have been allowed in a number of directions. In some instances it has seemed desirable to give attention to the work of two or more authors in a single analysis; this amounts in some cases to an elucidation of the work of an entire school. In other instances, the analysis has served as an occasion for the consideration of larger problems relating to the structure of social science or of one of its particular subdivisions. One paper, that by Professor Pirenne, is not even cast in the form of an analysis.

The contributions selected for analysis differ widely in character. Some are distinguished in the widest sense; they are among the great systematizing works of human thought. But since "method" has been regarded as a concept of variable meanings, and as such has been at times employed in a comparatively restricted sense, some of the contributions analyzed have been correspondingly restricted in scope and breadth of generalization.

While unique in plan, the volume is necessarily incomplete in accomplishment. Both the claim and the confession result from the varied meanings attached to the term "method," and the inclusive interpretation here employed. This interpretation is reflected in the nature and, to some extent, in the arrangement of the analyses; it grew out of an evolution in the project. The reader must be prepared at each point to take note of three methodologies: that of the committee and the investigators responsible for planning the study; that of the individual analysts in making their interpretations of authors' work; lastly, that of the authors themselves, as set forth in the case analyses. An explanation of the origin and development of the project is obviously required, for it will serve as the equivalent of an analysis of the method of the study as a whole. Such an explanation appears in Appendix A. An exposition of the problem of defining "method," however, together with an explanation of the arrangement of the analyses in accordance with the interpretation adopted, appear in the Introduction.

Numerous gaps and discrepancies will be disclosed to discerning read-

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.