Methodology: Who Needs It?

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SAGE, Dec 14, 2010 - Reference - 224 pages
The literature on social science methods and the issues surrounding them has grown massively and continues to increase. Yet many social scientists are ambivalent about methodology. For some, it plays a central, perhaps even an all-encompassing, role; while, for others, it is desirable only in small amounts, or indeed is regarded as an irrelevance, as a distraction from actually doing research.

In this book, Hammersley argues that, in large part, this reflects and is part of a wider problem: the gradual decline of a previously influential academic model of inquiry. This has occurred as a result of ideological challenges and the erosion of the institutional conditions that support academic work. He defends this model, spelling out the demands it places upon social scientists, and examining such issues as the proper role of methodology, the nature of objectivity, the false idea that social scientists should be intellectuals or social critics, the dialectic of academic discussion, the ethics of belief, and the limits of academic freedom. More broadly, he also questions the role of the social research within society and what it means to be a social scientist in the 21st century.

Hammersley's book is engagingly written and controversial. It tackles the major issues of contemporary social research methodology head on and is an essential read for anyone with an interest in this field.

 

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Contents

I NTRODUCTION
1
LIMITS OBLIGATIONS AND VIRTUES
15
1 METHODOLOGY WHO NEEDS IT?
17
2 ON THE SOCIAL SCIENTIST AS INTELLECTUAL
43
3 SHOULD SOCIAL SCIENCE BE CRITICAL?
75
4 OBJECTIVITY AS AN INTELLECTUAL VIRT UE
89
5 TOO GOOD TO BE FALSE? THE ETHICS OF BELIEF
105
PART 2 THE DIALECTIC OF KNOWLEDGE PRODUCTION
121
DISCOVERY CONSTRUCTION AND UNDERSTANDING
123
7 MERELY ACADEMIC? A DIALECTIC FOR RESEARCH COMMUNITIES
138
THE CASE OF HOLOCAUST DENIAL
159
EPILOGUE
185
REFERENCES
188
NAME INDEX
209
SUBJECT INDEX
212
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Martyn Hammersley is Emeritus Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University, UK. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. However, much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books including (with Paul Atkinson) Ethnography: Principles in Practice (Third edition, Routledge, 2007), The Dilemma of Qualitative Method (Routledge, 1989), The Politics of Social Research (SAGE, 1995), Reading Ethnographic Research (Second edition, Longman, 1997), Taking Sides in Social Research (Routledge, 2000), Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice (Paul Chapman/SAGE, 2002), Questioning Qualitative Inquiry (SAGE, 2008), Methodology Who Needs It? (SAGE, 2011), The Myth of Research-Based Policy and Practice (SAGE, 2013), The Limits of Social Science (SAGE, 2014), and The Radicalism of Ethnomethodology (Manchester University Press, 2018).

Website: http://martynhammersley.wordpress.com/

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