Show Summary Details
Political ResearchMethods and Practical Skills

Political Research: Methods and Practical Skills (2nd edn)

Sandra Halperin and Oliver Heath
Page of

Printed from Oxford Politics Trove. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 22 September 2021

p. 252. Forms of Knowledge

Laws, Explanation, and Interpretation in the Study of the Social Worldlocked

p. 252. Forms of Knowledge

Laws, Explanation, and Interpretation in the Study of the Social Worldlocked

  • Sandra Halperin
  •  and Oliver Heath

Abstract

This chapter focuses on fundamental assumptions that researchers make about how we can know and develop knowledge about the social world, such as assumptions about the nature of human behaviour and the methods appropriate to studying and explaining that behaviour. The main objective is how to carry out a systematic and rigorous investigation of social phenomena. The chapter considers three different answers to the question of how to approach the study of social phenomena: those offered by positivism, scientific realism, and interpretivism. It also explores the differences among these answers and their implications for conducting political research. Finally, it discusses the use of a positivist (rational choice) and interpretivist (constructivist) approach to the analysis of ethnic conflicts in Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

You do not currently have access to this chapter

Sign in

Please sign in to access the full content.

Subscribe

Access to the full content requires a subscription