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Principles of Methodology

Principles of Methodology
Research Design in Social Science

Other Titles in:
Research Design

October 2011 | 336 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
What is methodology? How should one design a research project? What is the relationship between theory and method in social research? What do students and new researchers need to know in order to plan and conduct high quality research for themselves?

In this intelligent and accessible book, Perri 6 and Chris Bellamy explore the relationship between the philosophical principles of the social sciences and the methods at our disposal to study the social world. They examine how we can design achievable and valid research projects by looking closely at the choices that all researchers and students face when designing a research project.

Much of the existing literature glosses over the often difficult inter-relationship between practical research design and the theoretical underpinnings of methodology. However, this text addresses such issues head on, and in the process helps the reader to better understand each stage of the research process.

Coverage includes:

" How do we ask valid research questions?

" How do we develop a research design to best answer our questions?

" What is the difference between 'methodology' and 'methods'?

" How do we formulate research concepts?

" How do we select and access a sample?

" What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative approaches?

" How do we handle our data?

This book is essential reading for any student or new researcher on a research methods course and who is faced with the prospect of understanding the research process for themselves or designing their own research project.

Inference and Warrant in Designing Research
Methodology and Social Science Knowledge
Testing, Confirming and Falsifying
Perspectives on Findings from Social Research
Types of Research Design
Variable-Oriented Research Designs
Case-Based Research Designs
Comparative and Case-Oriented Research Designs
Concept Formation
Why Ideas about Explanation Matter for Methodology
Basic Forms of Explanation
Mechanisms, Contexts and Trajectories
Warranting Explanations
Between-Case and within-Case Strategies
Warranting Interpretations
Combining Research Designs
Trade-offs in Research Design

'This is not just another methods book – it is ground-breaking in its comprehensiveness about what methodology is and what it is not.'    

'I would recommend this book to any member of the SRA whether in academia, local government, central government or market research; in short anyone concerned with collecting data about the social world and trying to make sense of it.'

Justin Gutmann
head of research & insight, Citizens Advice
SRA Research Matters

A well written, helpful text for both undergraduates and postgraduates.

Miss Alyson Lewis
Newport School of Education, University of South Wales (Newport)
January 6, 2015

Clear explanation of the key principles of research methods in social science.

Professor Li Wei
Linguistics , Birkbeck College, University of London
January 20, 2014

University committee decided on a different text.

Ms Misty Fitch
Criminal Justice, Post University
August 20, 2013

This is a very useful text for masters and doctoral level students rather than degree level students. It is clearly structured and the narrative style of writing helps to engage the reader in the complexities of theoretical and methodological issues. It is a return to again and again kind of resource.

Mrs Sally Goldspink
Allied Health & Medicine, Anglia Ruskin University
August 20, 2013

Too advanced for course as currently offered. Would be excellent for research design course prior to dissertation.

Dr Nancy Sanders
Education, California State Polytechnic - Pomona
August 16, 2013

Not focused enough on the nature of qualitative small scale research in education.

Dr Andy Cramp
School of Education, Wolverhampton University
July 11, 2013

An insightful text that supports graduate researchers to gain a greater depth of understanding and application of the research methodologies discussed.

Mrs Monica Donlon
Education and Applied Social Sciences, Stockport College
July 5, 2013

A wonderful and inspirational guide to Social Science research design that never patronises or terrifies the beginning social scientist. Thank you!

Ms Therese Lewis
Faculty of Health, Social Work & Educ, Northumbria University
June 19, 2013

This is an excellent new book which engages with theoretical and methodological issues and provides a clear guide for research practitioners in ways that many such books fail to do. It is clear and accessible and does not shy away from dealing with complex issues in a practical manner. It will be of immense value to Masters students and doctoral students alike.

Professor Matt Henn
Graduate School, Nottingham Trent University
April 10, 2013

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter One

Perri 6

Christine Bellamy

For instructors

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ISBN: 9780857024732

SAGE Research Methods is a research methods tool created to help researchers, faculty and students with their research projects. SAGE Research Methods links over 175,000 pages of SAGE’s renowned book, journal and reference content with truly advanced search and discovery tools. Researchers can explore methods concepts to help them design research projects, understand particular methods or identify a new method, conduct their research, and write up their findings. Since SAGE Research Methods focuses on methodology rather than disciplines, it can be used across the social sciences, health sciences, and more.