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Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts (1st edn)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan
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date: 08 December 2021

Contextual Analysis

Putting Research into Contextlocked

Contextual Analysis

Putting Research into Contextlocked

  • Auke Willems

Abstract

This chapter reflects on contextual analysis, which examines the environment in which a given phenomenon operates. Contextual analysis is used widely in social sciences, such as history, managerial and leadership studies, organizational theory, business studies, and political sciences. It is useful for identifying trends and topics within unstructured data (contexts). In a sense, contextual analysis helps create order out of chaos. The main aim of contextual analysis is to assess when and how contexts shape a social phenomenon and vice versa. Contexts can be, inter alia, historical, institutional, cultural, demographic, technological, psychological, ideological, ontological, and epistemological. A wide body of scholarship has developed on the topic of contextual analysis. The chapter reviews the literature briefly and identify clues and themes relevant to the social sciences.

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