Patterns of Discovery in the Social Sciences

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2008-06-30
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Social scientists are often vexed because their work does not satisfy the criteria of "scientific" methodology developed by philosophers of science and logicians who use the natural sciences as their model. In this study, Paul Diesing defines science not by reference to these arbitrary norms delineated by those outside the field but in terms of norms implicit in what social scientists actually do in their everyday work.Patterns of Discovery in the Social Sciences is a detailed and systematic report on the full range of methods and procedures as they are actually practiced. Neither a how-to-do-it handbook nor a lofty philosophical treatise, this is a truly interdisciplinary study of the basic modes of procedure in scientific inquiry, with a special emphasis on normative politics. Diesing treats scientific methods as inductive logics of discovery in continuous evolution. He emphasizes the variety of methods available, discusses the advantages and disadvantages of specific methods, and, in particular, provides an account of mathematical modeling and of participant observation.The book will be of immense interest to all working social scientists, graduate students in any of the social science disciplines, and philosophers of science. It can also be employed as a text or supplement in courses in sociological methods and philosophy of science. This book is also a noteworthy companion to Diesing’s major work on Science and Ideology in the Policy Sciences.

Author Biography

Paul Diesing is professor emeritus of political science at the State University of New York at Buffalo

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
Formal Methods and Theories
General Characteristics of Formal Theoriesp. 29
The Development of a Formal Theoryp. 48
Experimental Work with Mathematical Modelsp. 63
Analysis and Verification of Computer Modelsp. 95
Types of Formal Theoriesp. 101
Uses of Modelsp. 108
Formalizationp. 115
The Implicit Ontology of Formalistsp. 124
Participant-Observer and Clinical Methods
The Holist Standpointp. 137
Main Steps of a Case Studyp. 142
Holistic Uses of Statisticsp. 169
Comparative Methods and the Development of Theoryp. 182
Typologies: Real and Ideal Typesp. 197
Some Characteristics of Holist Theoriesp. 203
The Use and Verification of General Theoryp. 225
Structural-Functional Theoriesp. 235
The Practical Use of Case Studiesp. 259
Weaknesses and Problems of Case Study Methodsp. 277
The Implicit Ontology of Case Study Methodsp. 286
Methods in the Philosophy of Science
The Participant-Observer Methodp. 291
The Method of Rational Reconstructionp. 304
The Typological Methodp. 311
The Method of Conceptual Analysisp. 316
Science, Philosophy, and Astrologyp. 319
Referencesp. 325
Indexp. 343
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