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Political ResearchMethods and Practical Skills

Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (3rd edn)

Sandra Halperin and Oliver Heath
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date: 04 December 2021

p. 1235. Finding Answers: Theories and How to Apply Themlocked

p. 1235. Finding Answers: Theories and How to Apply Themlocked

  • Sandra HalperinSandra HalperinProfessor of International Relations, Royal Holloway, University of London
  •  and Oliver HeathOliver HeathProfessor of Politics, Royal Holloway, University of London

Abstract

This chapter shows how to develop an answer to a particular research question. It first considers the requirements and components of an answer to a research question before discussing the role of ‘theory’ in social science research, what a ‘theoretical framework’ is, and what a hypothesis is. It then explores the three components of a hypothesis: an independent variable, a dependent variable, and a proposition (a statement about the relationship between the variables). It also looks at the different types of hypotheses and how they guide various kinds of research. It also explains why conceptual and operational definitions of key terms are important and how they are formulated. Finally, it offers suggestions on how to answer normative questions.

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