The SAGE Handbook of Research Methods in Political Science and International Relations offers a comprehensive overview of research processes in social science - from the ideation and design of research projects, through the construction of theoretical arguments, to conceptualization, measurement, and data collection, and quantitative and qualitative empirical analysis - exposited through 65 major new contributions from leading international methodologists. Each chapter surveys, builds upon, and extends the modern state of the art in its area. Following through its six-part organization, undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and practicing academics will be guided through the design, methods, and analysis of issues in Political Science and International Relations: Part One: Formulating Good Research Questions and Designing Good Research Projects; Part Two: Methods of Theoretical Argumentation; Part Three: Conceptualization and Measurement; Part Four: Large-Scale Data Collection and Representation Methods; Part Five: Quantitative-Empirical Methods; Part Six: Qualitative and Mixed Methods.
Chapter 3: The Simple, the Trivial and the Insightful: Field Dispatches from a Formal Theorist
The Simple, the Trivial and the Insightful: Field Dispatches from a Formal Theorist
This advice begins with a disclaimer. I have a view of formal modeling that – while being shared by many fellow modelers and philosophers of science – is at variance with what seems to be the prevalent one in the discipline. All my thoughts on the use of formal models in research are bound up with that view, and are probably not useful if one does not share it.
Contrary to popular opinion, the biggest hurdle to effective modeling is not the absence of advanced mathematical skills. Instead, the problem lies with a hazy conception – shared by both proponents and critics – of what models are supposed to accomplish. ...