Methodologies for the Social Sciences I

Periodo di svolgimento
Ore del corso
20
Ore dei docenti responsabili
20
Ore di didattica integrativa
0
‌‌

Modalità esame

Prova orale e relazione di seminario

Prerequisiti

Compulsory for the 1st year students of the PhD Programme in "Political Science and Sociology"

Programma

The aim of this course is to discuss main approaches to political science and sociology, theprincipal steps in designing research, and some methods for data collection. In this sense, it aims at introducing all main choices that need to be addressed in the preparation of the April prospectus.

Taking into account the diverse national and disciplinary background of first year research, theseminar attempts to develop some common knowledge, without losing the richness of plurality.The seminar as a whole, as well as the individual sessions, aim at critically contrasting the advantages as well as problems of the various strategies in the construction of scientific knowledge.

The seminar stems from SPS department’s commitment to methodological pluralism and informed debate. Specifically its aims are:

  •          To provide an overview of approaches in the social sciences, in order to help students tochoose their own approach for the thesis, to justify this approach, and to situate it with in the discipline;
  •          To ensure that PhD graduates become fully literate social scientists, able to read andunderstandworkwrittenwithin differenttraditions and approaches;
  •          To introduce researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences and to demystify some of this debate, identifying commonalities, historic continuities, and genuine differences;
  •          To give first year researchers a common experience and socialization and to encourage them to discuss their own work across sub-disciplines and methodological approaches.

In the second part, PhD students will present their own workin progress with the support of slides(Power Point, Prezi, MindMeister etc.): each PhD student will be allocated a time slot of 40minutes that will include a maximum of 15 minutes presentation and 25 minutes of in-class discussionand feedback by thei nstructor and their colleagues.

 

Syllabous

 

Day1.November 3, 10am-12pm

 Introduction: epistemology and ontology foundations

This seminar is devoted to address some most important debates related to ontologies, epistemologiesand methodologies in the social sciences, with attention to the interactions between the three. A pluralist perspective is then discussed.

AssignedReading:

D. della Porta and M. Keating (2008), How many approaches in the social sciences? An epistemological introduction, in D.dellaPortaandM.Keating(eds),Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences,Cambridge,CambridgeUniversityPress.

 

 Day 2. November 10, 10am-12pm

 

The logics of research design

 

With the participation of Martin Portos(UniversidadCarloIIIMadrid)

The seminar will addresssome main steps in the development of a research design, moving from theresearch question to theoretical grounding and conceptualization as well as case selection and methods choices, in both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Assigned reading:

 

G King et al (2021) Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, Part 1

 

Day3. November17, 10am-12pm

 

Case study design

This session will look at the rationale for qualitative research on specific cases.

 

Assigned reading:

P Vennesson (2008), Case studies and process tracing: theories and practices, in D. della Porta and M. Keating (eds), Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

Day 4. November 24, 10am-12pm

 

Norms,ethics and safety infieldwork,

With the participation of Francesco Strazzari, Scuola di Studi Superiori Sant’Anna

 

This session addresses some mainethical and practical concerns in empirical research addressing issues of practical challenges in field work, normative choices, ethical dilemmas during field work, as well as the public use of research results. Particular focus is devoted to risk assessment in fieldwork, an issue that has gained in prominence with the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

 AssignedReading:

  1. Grimmetal.(2020)Safer FieldResearchintheSocialSciences,Sage,Chaps1

P Mateja and F Strazzari (2017) Securitisation of research: Fieldwork under new restrictions in

Darfur and Mali. Third World Quarterly 38(7): 1531–1550.

 

Other Reading:

J. Grimm et al. (2020) Safer Field Research in the Social Sciences, Sage, Chaps 2-4

 

  Day 5. December 1, 10am-12pm

 

Comparative approaches

This session will look at the specific methodological issues linked to international comparisons in the social sciences.

 

Assigned Reading:

D. della Porta (2008), Comparative analysis: case-oriented versus variable-oriented research, in D. della Porta and M. Keating (eds), Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

 

 Final workshop.December 9 and December 16, 2-7pm

Presentations and discussion of research projects(with Guglielmo Meardi and Lorenzo Bosi)

 

  

Requirement:

Presentation, with powerpoint or other supporting material, addressing epistemological and methodological choices and comparing or integrating at least two approaches.

Obiettivi formativi

The educational goals of the course are:

  • To provide an overview of approaches in the social sciences, in order to help students to choose their own approach for the thesis, to justify this approach, and to situate it within the discipline;
  • To ensure that PhD graduates become fully literate social scientists, able to read and understand work written within different traditions and approaches;
  • To introduce researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences and to demystify some of this debate, identifying commonalities, historic continuities, and genuine differences;
  • To give first year researchers a common experience and socialization and to encourage them to discuss their own work across sub-disciplines and methodological approaches.