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Research Methods in the Social Sciences: An A-Z of key concepts

Edited by Jean-Frédéric Morin, Christian Olsson, and Ece Özlem Atikcan

Publication Date - 29 March 2021

ISBN: 9780198850298

336 pages
9.2 x 6.1 inches

In Stock


Research Methods in the Social Sciences is a comprehensive yet compact A-Z for undergraduate and postgraduate students undertaking research across the social sciences, featuring 71 entries that cover a wide range of concepts, methods, and theories.

Each entry begins with an accessible introduction to a method, using real-world examples from a wide range of academic disciplines, before discussing the benefits and limitations of the approach, its current status in academic practice, and finally providing tips and advice for readers on when and how to apply the method in their own research. Wide ranging and interdisciplinary, the text covers both well-established concepts and emerging ideas, such as big data and network analysis, for qualitative and quantitative research methods.

All entries feature extensive cross-referencing, providing ease of navigation and, pointing readers to related concepts, and to help build their overall understanding of research methods.


  • Covers quantitative and qualitative methods, with an emphasis on applying concepts to real-world examples.
  • Over 70 entries covering well-established research methods concepts and emerging ideas.
  • Concepts are defined and then discussed in terms of practical use, strengths and weaknesses, and current status in academic practice.
  • Uses cross-references to help readers link related concepts together and build a comprehensive understanding of research methods.

About the Author(s)

Jean-Frédéric Morin, Full Professor, Political Science Department, Université Laval,Christian Olsson, Associate Professor in International Relations, Université libre de Bruxelles,Ece Özlem Atikcan, Associate Professor in Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick

Jean-Frédéric Morin is Full Professor at Université Laval (Canada) and chairholder of the Canada Research Chair in International Political Economy. His current research projects look at the design of environmental treaties, interactions between international institutions, and the governance of space debris. His most recent co-authored books include Global Environmental Politics (OUP, 2020) and Greening through Trade (MIT Press, 2020).

Christian Olsson is Associate Professor at Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB, Belgium) and Director of its REPI Research Unit (Recherche et Etudes en Politique Internationale). His research concerns the transformations of warfare in the context of Western overseas military operations, the political dynamics of non-state armed groups and the privatization of security and military operations. Recent articles have been published in Millenium, Critical Military Studies and Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding.

Ece Özlem Atikcan is an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the European Institute of the University College London in the UK. Her research combines a theoretical focus on political campaigns, issue framing, politicisation of trade agreements, transnational social movements, and diffusion with a regional focus on the European Union. Her recent work has appeared in European Journal of Political Research, Journal of Elections Public Opinion and Parties, Journal of Public Policy, and as books with Cambridge University Press and McGill-Queen's University Press.

Table of Contents

    0. Introduction
    1. Archival Research, Chloé Brière
    2. Automated Text Analysis, Yannis Panagis
    3. Bayesian Inference, Arnaud Dufays
    4. Behaviourism, Olga Herzog
    5. Bias, Stephanie Anne Shelton and Aysel Küçüksu
    6. Big Data, Yannick Dufresne and Brittany Davidson
    7. Boolean Algebra, Jasmin Hasic
    8. Case Selection, Laura Gelhaus and Dirk Leuffen
    9. Case Study, Jessica Luciano Gomes and Miriam Gomes Saraiva
    10. Causation, Vivien Sierens and Ramona Coman
    11. Comparative Analysis, Céline C. Cocq and Ora Szekely
    12. Concept Construction, Louis Bélanger & Pierre-Marc Daigneault
    13. Content Analysis, Holli A. Semetko
    14. Contextual Analysis, Auke Willems
    15. Counterfactual Analysis, Shunsuke Sato
    16. Covariance, Virginie Van Ingelgom and Alban Versailles
    17. Critical Realism, Dominik Giese and Jonathan Joseph
    18. Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Studies, Andrew Bell
    19. Deductive, Inductive, and Retroductive Reasoning, Dominik Giese and Kai-Uwe Schnapp
    20. Descriptive, Explanatory, and Interpretive Approaches, Louis Imbeau, Sule Tomkinson and Yasmina Malki
    21. Determinism, Predictions, and Probabilism, François Depelteau
    22. Discourse Analysis, Elisa Narminio and Caterina Carta
    23. Endogeneity, Elena Avramovska
    24. Epistemology, Gianfranco Pellegrino
    25. Ethics in Research, Mark Daku and Laurence Marquis
    26. Ethnography, Chowra Makaremi
    27. Experiments, Damien Bol
    28. Factor Analysis, Ulf Liebe
    29. Falsification, Brian D. Earp
    30. Focus Groups, Andrew Parker and Jonathan Tritter
    31. Formal Modelling, Érick Duchesne and Arthur Silve
    32. Grand Theory and Middle Range Theory, Frederik Ponjaert
    33. Hermeneutics, Mélanie Samson
    34. Hypotheses, Onna Van Den Broek and Adam William Chalmers
    35. Interdisciplinary, Roberto Carrillo and Lidia Núñez
    36. Interview Techniques, Marta Matrakova
    37. Levels of Analysis, Mauro Caprioli and Claire Dupuy
    38. Literature review, Mathieu Ouimet and Pierre-Olivier Bédard
    39. Meta-Analysis, Noémie Laurens
    40. Methodological Individualism and Holism, Suzan Gibril
    41. Mixed Methods, Manfredi Valeriani and Vicki L. Plano Clark
    42. Multi-causality and Equifinality, Johann Wolfschwenger and Kevin Lloyd Young
    43. Multiple Correspondence Analysis and Geometric Data Analysis, Stephan Davidshofer and Amal Tawfik
    44. Nomothetic and Idiographic Methods, Nicky Hayes
    45. Observational Methods, Christian Olsson
    46. Ontology, Eric Fabri
    47. Operationalization, Anne-Laure Mahé and Theodore Mclauchlin
    48. Oral History and Life History, Julien Pomarède
    49. Paradigms and Research Programmes, Sheila Dow and Andreas Dimmelmeier
    50. Positivism, Post-positivism, and Social Science, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson and Lucas Dolan
    51. Process Tracing, Seda Gürkan and Jochem Rietveld
    52. Prosopography, Jacob A. Hasselbalch and Leonard Seabrook
    53. Qualitative Comparative Analysis, Kevin Kalomeni and Claudius Wagemann
    54. Regression Analysis, Kamil Marcinkiewicz and Kai-Uwe Schnapp
    55. Replication and Reproducibility, Stefan Schmidt
    56. Research Question, Irene Wieczorek and Piergiuseppe Parisi
    57. Sampling Techniques, Emilie Van Haute
    58. Scientific Realism, Heikki Patomäki
    59. Scope Conditions, Mathilde Gauquelin
    60. Sequence Analysis, Thomas Collas and Philippe Blanchard
    61. Social Network Analysis, Nicholas Haagensen and Lasse Folke Henriksen
    62. Source Criticism, Kenneth Bertrams and Anne Weyembergh
    63. Statistical Significance, Olesya Tkacheva
    64. Survey Research, Lior Gideon and Kevin Barnes-Ceeney
    65. Systems Analysis, Guillaume Beaumier and Didier Wernli
    66. Thematic Analysis, Victoria Clarke and Virginia Braun
    67. Time Series, Nina Baur and Jannis Hergesell
    68. Triangulation, Sabine Caillaud and Uwe Flick
    69. Typology, Juraj Halas
    70. Unit Analysis and Observation, Kimberly A. Neuendorf
    71. Variables, Jean-Frédéric Morin and Alessandra Bonci

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