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 2: From Questions and Puzzles to Research Project
From Questions and Puzzles to Research Project
Nam placuisse nocet
(Perfection brings destruction)
Regardless of perspective, philosophy, approach or assumptions, strong projects require a good research question. The process can be laborious, and the researcher will likely spend significant time in draft, making the question clear and explicit before it emerges in its polished form in the research project. For this reason and those outlined below, a scholar will face many of the core issues discussed in this chapter and its companion Chapter 1. For the lucky ones, the chapters on different methods will be eye-openers – whether on case studies and process tracing (see Chapters 59 and 62), formal theory (see Chapters 3 and 11) or the exploration of estimators in multivariate ...