Sociology Index


Method, Methodological Individualism

Methodology is methods, rules, and postulates employed by a discipline of study, 
Methodology is a particular kind of procedure or set of procedures, or 
Methodology is the analysis of the principles or procedures of inquiry in a particular field of study.

The common idea here is the collection, the comparative study, and the critique of the individual methods that are used in a given discipline or field of inquiry.

The BMS (Bulletin of Sociological Methodology) is a quarterly scientific journal specialized in sociological methodology.

Objectives in Teaching and Using Research Methodology - Robert G. Burgess 
This article examines the state and status of methodology teaching. The links between the state of the discipline, patterns of teaching, styles of assessment and the uses of methodology are explored. A series of questions are raised concerning the place of methodology in the sociology curriculum. It is suggested that these questions have to be answered by all sociologists and not just methodology teachers.

On Feminist Methodology - Martyn Hammersley 
There is now a considerable literature advocating a feminist methodology. This article summarises the features of such a methodology under four headings: the ubiquitous social significance of gender, the validity of experience as against method, the rejection of hierarchy in the research relationship, and the adoption of the emancipation of women as the goal of research and the criterion of validity. The arguments supporting each of these themes are assessed. The conclusion reached is that while some of these arguments are convincing the overall case for a feminist methodology is not.

James Mahoney - Department of Sociology, Brown University, Providence
The last decade featured the emergence of a significant and growing literature concerning comparative-historical methods. This literature offers methodological tools for causal and descriptive inference that go beyond the techniques currently available in mainstream statistical analysis. In terms of causal inference, new procedures exist for testing hypotheses about necessary and sufficient causes, and these procedures address the skepticism that mainstream methodologists may hold about necessary and sufficient causation. Likewise, new techniques are available for analyzing hypotheses that refer to complex temporal processes, including path-dependent sequences. In the area of descriptive inference, the comparative-historical literature offers important tools for concept analysis and for achieving measurement validity. Given these contributions, comparative-historical methods merit a central place within the general field of social science methodology.

A Crazy Methodology? - On the Limits of Macro-Quantitative Social Science Research 
Bernhard Kittel, Carl von Ossietzky Universitšt Oldenburg 
Despite the great popularity of macro-quantitative comparative research in the social sciences during the past two decades, it has only had a limited lasting impact on the development of our understanding of social macro-phenomena. The lack of robustness appears to be symptomatic of research findings. The cause of this problem is the difficulty in dealing with complex macro-phenomena by means of statistical analysis. If international comparative research relates to independent and identical behaviour of individuals, which can be portrayed at the macro-level by the idea of the representative agent, the analysis is indeed tricky, but not impossible. However, this road is closed for macro-level characteristics of social systems, since the model cannot be based on assumptions about modal behaviour. In this instance, the sole solution seems to be to accept the limits of small numbers and to improve the elaboration of a macro-narrative based on robust micro-correlations.

"On the Question of the Structure of Methodology" The Proceedings of the 8th International Congress of the Logic, Methodology, and Philosophy of Science. Moscow, 1987, vol. 3/13.

Paul Lazarsfeld - The Founder of Modern Empirical Sociology: A Research Biography 
Hynek JeŠbek 
Charles University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Institute of Sociological Studies, AreŠl U kŪe
Paul Lazarsfeld contributed to unemployment research, public opinion and market research, mass media and communications research, political sociology, the sociology of sociology, the history of empirical social research, and applied sociology. His methodological innovations—reason analysis, program analyzer, panel analysis, survey analysis, elaboration formula, latent structure analysis, mathematical sociology (especially the algebra of dichotomous systems), contextual analysis—are of special importance. This study responds to the critiques of Lazarsfeld's ‘administrative research’ by Theodor W. Adorno, of ‘abstract empiricism’ by Charles W. Mills, and of the ‘Columbia Sociology Machine’ by Terry N. Clark. The paper discusses the merits of the team-oriented style of work presented in Lazarsfeld's ‘workshop,’ his teaching by engaging in professional activities in social research and methodology, and his consecutive foundation of four research institutes, Vienna's Wirtschaftspsychologische Forschungsstelle, the Newark University Research Center, the Princeton Office of Radio Research, and the Bureau of Applied Social Research at Columbia University in New York. By his manyfold activities, Paul Lazarsfeld decisively promoted the institutionalization of empirical social research. All these merits make him the founder of modern empirical sociology.

Some Contributions to the History of Sociology. Section VII. Present Historical Methodology - Albion W. Small
The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 1 (Jul., 1923), pp. 83-84
Abstract: Attention is called again to the fact that Sections II-VII are not to be understood as appraisals of the persons of the methods discussed by standards which would satisfy historians. They merely emphasize elements in historiographic methodology which later exerted a formative influence upon sociology.

Foucauldian Gerontology: A Methodology for Understanding Aging - Jason L. Powell, University of Salford, Great Britain, Simon Biggs, Keele University, Great Britain,
Abstract: There has been a rise in recent years of a theoretical current entitled “Foucauldian gerontology”. This broad theory has attempted to understand how aging is socially constructed by discourses used by professions and disciplines in order to control and regulate the experiences of older people and to legitimise powerful narratives afforded to age by such groups. Gerontology too as a discipline and praxis provides the space for the construction and dissemination of knowledge formation. To address this, the paper introduces some of the methodological tools from the scholarship of Michel Foucault. In particular, the paper locates concepts of archaeology, genealogy and technologies of self and highlights the importance and creative impact these have for social gerontology in the USA, UK and Australasia. The paper draws from examples from current gerontological research to illuminate the usefulness of such a Foucauldian approach for researching social gerontology. - Electronic Journal of Sociology (2003) - ISSN: 1198 3655.