‘This is an impressively detailed, clearly written book.. It is a book that I would like students to read’ - Clive Seale, Goldsmiths College, London. Social Research: Theory, Methods and Techniques presents an understanding of social research practice through appreciation of its foundations and methods. Stretching from the philosophy of science to detailed descriptions of both qualitative and quantitative techniques, it illustrates not only ‘how’ to do social research, but also ‘why’ particular techniques are used today. The book is divided into three parts: Part One: Illustrates the two basic paradigms - quantitative and qualitative - of social research, describing their origins in philosophical thought and outlining their current interpretations. Part Two: Devoted to quantitative research, and discusses the relationship between theory and research practice. It also presents a discussion of key quantitative research techniques. Part Three: Examines qualitative research. Topics range from classical qualitative techniques such as participant observation, to more recent developments such as ethnomethodological studies. Overall, the author offers an engaging contribution to the field of social research and this book is a reminder of the solid foundations upon which most social research is conducted today. As a consequence it will be required reading for students throughout the social sciences, and at various levels.

Paradigms of Social Research

  • Kuhn and the paradigms of sciences 9
  • Three basic questions 11
  • Positivism 13
  • Neopositivism and postpositivism 17
  • Interpretivism 20
  • A final note: radicalization, criticism and new tendencies 25

This chapter illustrates the philosophical bases of the two basic approaches to social research which gave rise to the families of quantitative and qualitative techniques. We will begin with the concept of paradigm – that is, the perspective that inspires and directs a given science. Then we shall examine the historical roots and the guiding principles of the positivist and the interpretive paradigms. The chapter ends with a few reflections concerning currents trends in social research.

Kuhn and the Paradigms of Sciences

The notion of ‘paradigm’ has ancient origins in the history of philosophical thought. It was utilized both by ...

  • Loading...
locked icon

Sign in to access this content

Get a 30 day FREE TRIAL

  • Watch videos from a variety of sources bringing classroom topics to life
  • Read modern, diverse business cases
  • Explore hundreds of books and reference titles