It focuses on questions such as: How is new social scientific knowledge produced or existing knowledge further developed? What status does this knowledge have and how can this be established? To what extent can the ways of advancing knowledge in the natural sciences be used in the social sciences? What major dilemmas do social researchers face in the development of new knowledge? No other text offers such a clear and accessible, but still rigorous, account of these sometimes complex debates.
This second edition has been thoroughly updated to encompass the most contemporary debates about the conduct and underpinnings of social research. More attention is also paid to research practice. In addition, integrated empirical examples have been included to illustrate and extend the philosophical and theoretical discussion.
Approaches to Social Enquiry will be invaluable to advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are planning their own research or studying research methods, and to researchers across a wide range of disciplines.
List of Figures and Tables
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
1 MAJOR CHOICES IN SOCIAL ENQUIRY
Researcher s Stance
The Status of Knowledge
Research Paradigms and Research Strategies
2 MAJOR DILEMMAS IN SOCIAL ENQUIRY
Science and Social Science
The Postmodern Turn
3 ADVANCING KNOWLEDGE USING FOUR RESEARCH STRATEGIES
Styles of Reasoning
The Inductive Research Strategy
The Deductive Research Strategy
Combining the Inductive and Deductive Strategies
The Abductive Research Strategy
Combining Retroductive and Abductive Strategies
4 CLASSICAL RESEARCH PARADIGMS
5 CONTEMPORARY RESEARCH PARADIGMS
6 REVIEW AND CRITIQUE OF THE RESEARCH PARADIGMS
Research Paradigms Revisited: Ontology and Epistemology
Critique of the Research Paradigms
Review of Some Major Dilemmas
Association between Research Strategies Research Paradigms
POSTSCRIPT: THE COMPLEXITY TURN
Characteristics of Complex Systems
The Reality of the Complex
Complexity and Postmodernism
Complexity and Research
Figures and Tables
Sociological Research Online
"The repertoire of social research grows wider by the day. Substantive topics multiply, the technical apparatus mushrooms, paradigms proliferate and clash. And the potential for confusion in the beginner s mind grows apace. Norman Blaikie s Approaches to Social Enquiry has always been the most trustworthy student guide through the methodological quagmire, and this new edition confirms his reputation as the supreme explicator of social inquiry."
Ray Pawson, University of Leeds
"Norman Blaikie′s book is an accessible, clear, and reliable introduction for the social research student to the extraordinarily complex set of issues and decisions in which the practicing researcher necessarily becomes entangled. This is an exceptional book, especially for its sympathetic presentation of positions and its wide range."
Stephen Turner, University of South Florida