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34 Cards in this Set

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What is the deductive approach to research?
Theory guides the research.
What is the inductive approach to research?
Theory is the outcome of the research.
What is a theory?
"an explanation of observed regularities"
What is a 'theory of the middle range' (Merton)?
These types of theories are based on things like: why work alienation varies by technology (Bryman).
What is a 'grand theory'?
Theories which focuse on a more abstract level, for example: structuration theory, or critical theory.
What did Merton say was problematic with grand theories?
Grand theory is so abstract that it gives no guidelines to show how one could collect empirical data in support of it. It cannot be tested.
Which type of theory is more likely to guide political science?
Middle-range theory.
What are the characteristics of a middle-range theory?
Operates in a limited domain. Is in between empirical findings and grand theory, hence the name middle-range. Attempt to understand and explain a limited aspect of social life.
What are the two meanings of the term 'empiricism'?
(1) Only knowledge gained a posteriori is acceptable. Ideas must be tested in order for them to be confirmed as knowledge. (2) The accumulation of facts is a legitimate goal in itself; also termed 'naive empiricism'.
What is deductive theory?
One deduces a hypothesis from current theory, which is then subjected to empirical scrutiny.
Which type of theoretical approach did Merton advocate?
Deductive.
What are the six steps in deduction?
(1) Theory; (2) Hypothesis; (3) data collection; (4) findings; (5) hypothesis confirmed or rejected; (6)Revision of theory.
Is the deductive approach to theory associated with quantitative or qualitative research?
Quantatitive.
What is the inductive approach to theory?
Theory is the outcome of research. Generalisations are made out of observations.
What does the iterative strategy mean in terms of the inductive approach to theory?
Further data is collected in order to find out in what conditions the theory holds.
Is inductive theory linked to quantitative or qualitative research?
Qualitative
What is the epistemological position known as positivism?
Maintains that is important to imitate the natural sciences.
What strategy towards theory does positivism take?
Both a deductive and inductive approach.
How can knowledge be confirmed for positivists?
By the senses.
Does positivism advocate objectivity or subjectivity?
Objectivity.
Does positivism rely on normative statements or scientific statements?
Scientific statements.
What are the two main types of realism?
Critical and empirical realism.
What does realism share with positivism?
Belief that there is an objective world and that the social and the natural sciences should use the same approaches to research.
What is empirical realism?
Reality can be understood by using the appropriate method. This is the normal meaning when one uses the term realism.
What did Bhaskar say the problem was with empirical realism?
Empirical realism is too superficial. It fails to admit that there are underlying structures and phenomena which cause observable events/phenomena.
What is critical realism?
Aims to understand the social world, including: the events and phemonena, and the underlying structures that cause them.
How does critical realism differ from positivism?
Positivism aruges that conceptualisation actually reflects that reality; whereas, critical realism argues that conceptualisation is one way of knowing reality. Critical realists also admit that theory may not necessarily be verifiable empirically, positivists disagree.
What does interpretivism say in contrast with positivism?
That the social sciens should be fundamentally different from the natural sciences. This is because there is a difference between people and the object of scientific investigation.
What does Von Wright's term 'hermeneutics' mean?
Considers the theory and method of the interpretation of human action.
Is interpretivism the explanation or understanding of human behaviour?
It is the understanding of human behaviour, rather than the consideration of the forces which cause/influence human behaviour.
What is phenomenology?
It is about how individuals make sense of the world around them.
What is objectivism?
Claims that social phenomena and their meanings have an independent (therefore objective) existence to social actors.
What examples could be given to illustrate the theory behind objectivism?
Organisations exist independently of the individuals in them. The organisation exerts pressure on these individuals to conform to the preconceived rules and regulations.
What is constructionism?
It is also known as contrustivism. It argues that social phenomena and their meaning are constantly being accomplished by social actors. It concludes that social phenomena are produced by social interaction and are constantly being revised.