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Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Social Research
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Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Social Research



November 2016 | 240 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

“This is a splendid book, providing a readable and reliable guide to a very large range of topics and literature... the author brings together, as few of us can, the details of research methodology and practice with broader philosophical perspectives and approaches.”
- William Outhwaite, Emeritus Professor, Newcastle University 

"We need researchers who are philosophically informed rather than philosophically obsessed or philosophically oppressed. With this book Malcolm Williams strikes the exact balance."
- Ray Pawson, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds

This book is an ideal introduction for any student or social researcher hoping to better understand the philosophical issues that inform social research. Williams is the perfect guide providing short focused introductions to key concepts alongside a persuasive and engaging overview of how we interpret and conduct research.

The book covers everything from core research methods, to ethical concerns and an exploration of the metaphysics of social life, with each entry providing:
  • Clear definitions
  • Engaging real world examples
  • Up-do-date suggestions for further reading
  • Informative cross-referencing
  • Lists of key thinkers. 
Relevant and authoritative, this book is an indispensable introduction to the philosophy of social research.  
 
Introduction
 
Causality
 
Complexity
 
Contingency and Necessity
 
Empiricism
 
Epistemology
 
Ethics and Morality
 
Experiments
 
Explanation
 
Falsification
 
Feminism
 
Functionalism
 
Generalisation and Laws
 
Hypothesis(es)
 
Idealism
 
Individualism and Holism
 
Induction
 
Interpretation and Meaning
 
Language
 
Logic and Truth
 
Materialism
 
Mechanisms and Models
 
Objectivity-Subjectivity
 
Observation
 
Ontology
 
Positivism
 
Postmodernism
 
Pragmatism
 
Probability
 
Rationality
 
Realism
 
Relativism
 
Social Contstruction
 
Statistics
 
Theory
 
Time

This is a splendid book, providing a readable and reliable guide to a very large range of topics and literature. It covers the basics, while providing very substantial amounts of reliable guidance to those who want to pursue these issues further. A particular strength is the way in which the author brings together, as few of us can, the details of research methodology and practice with broader philosophical perspectives and approaches.

William Outhwaite
Newcastle University

Newcomers to social research are often bemused by the plethora of different philosophical principles upon which it is based. Worse still, they are often press-ganged into the belief that they must uphold the ‘one true paradigm’ and slay all others before they enter the field. What they actually need is a lucid overview, which describes in an even-handed way the many concepts and perspectives on offer. We need researchers who are philosophically informed rather than philosophically obsessed or philosophically oppressed. With this book Malcolm Williams strikes the exact balance.

Ray Pawson
University of Leeds

This book is a real treat: the writing is unusually good, there is interesting and insightful content, and the coverage is broad. Social scientists regularly make philosophical assumptions; Williams' book will help them do so in a conscious and sophisticated way.

Harold Kincaid
University of Cape Town

An excellent introduction to complex philosophical social research concepts. Gives students, who are new to research, an accessible text to help them grapple with the terminology and meaning.

Lesley Deacon
Faculty of Education and Society, Sunderland University
November 28, 2018

A useful introduction to the ontological and epistemological problems of social research.

Mr Dan Burrows
Cardiff School of Health Sciences, Cardiff Metropolitan University
October 26, 2016

A very good starting place for students who are just about to start a research project. A must have for those who straggles with understanding different philosophical paradigms.

Mr Leszek Wypych
Bedfordshire Business School, Bedfordshire University
October 25, 2016

Great reference book for all the key concepts in social research. A must have for research based degree units.

Dr Bethany Simmonds
Social, Historical & Literary Studies, Portsmouth University
September 29, 2016

A very good starting place for students who are just about to do a research. A must have for those who straggles with understanding different philosophical paradigms.

Mr Leszek Wypych
Bedfordshire Business School, Bedfordshire University
September 12, 2016

For instructors

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Select a Purchasing Option

ISBN: 9780857027429
$36.00
ISBN: 9780857027412
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