Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Social Research (SAGE Key Concepts series)

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9780857027429: Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Social Research (SAGE Key Concepts series)
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“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.  

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Review:

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)

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)

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)

About the Author:

Malcolm Williams is Professor and Director of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University. Prior to joining Cardiff in 2010, he was Professor of Social Research Methodology and Head of the School of Psychosocial Sciences at the University of Plymouth where he taught for 16 years.

Malcolm has designed and taught modules in the philosophy of social research for 18 years at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. In these he has introduced a number of innovative pedagogic techniques, such as Problem Based Learning and ‘Concept Speed Dating’, in which students take a key idea and move from table to table attempting to build conceptual links between ideas.

Additionally he has taught many modules and short courses in social theory, research design, questionnaire design, scaling, sampling, scientific method and history of science.

Williams has an extensive publishing record in philosophy of social research, including: Introduction to Philosophy of Social Research (with Tim May, Routledge, 1996), Knowing the Social World (with Tim May, OUP, 1998), Science and Social Science (Routledge, 2000), Making Sense of Social Research (SAGE, 2003), Philosophical Foundations of Social Research (SAGE, 2006), Teaching Quantitative Methods (with Geoff Payne, SAGE, 2011) Objectivity and Subjectivity in Social Research (with Gayle Letherby and John Scott, SAGE, 2012) and The SAGE Handbook of Innovations in Social Research (with W Paul Voght, SAGE, 2014).

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9780857027412: Key Concepts in the Philosophy of Social Research (SAGE Key Concepts series)

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