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 1: Asking Interesting Questions
Asking Interesting Questions
Good research is driven by impatience with bad answers to interesting questions. But where do interesting questions come from? Since this is the opening chapter of a handbook on research methods, it is imperative to point out at the start that there is no ‘method’ to asking research questions, in the sense of a cookbook you can follow that will lead, inexorably, to scientific ‘discovery'. There may be a scientific method for evaluating answers, but there is certainly no scientific method for asking questions or generating answers. And there is certainly room for a lot of creativity in developing interesting and enlightening research designs, and serious shortcomings to ‘cookbook’ approaches.2 Karl Popper (1962, 2003), for example, argued that science ...