Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science

Guide to Methods for Students of Political Science

  • $23.64
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  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Stephen Van Evera
  • Publish Date: 1997-09-04


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Stephen Van Evera greeted new graduate students at MIT with a commonsense introduction to qualitative methods in the social sciences. His helpful hints, always warmly received, grew from a handful of memos to an underground classic primer. That primer evolved into a book of how-to information about graduate study, which is essential reading for graduate students and undergraduates in political science, sociology, anthropology, economics, and history - and for their advisers.

-How should we frame, assess, and apply theories in the social sciences? I am unpersuaded by the view that the prime rules of scientific method should differ between hard science and social science. Science is science.

-A section on case studies shows novices the ropes.

-Van Evera contends the realm of dissertations is often defined too narrowly “Making and testing theories are not the only games in town. . . . If everyone makes and tests theories but no one ever uses them, then what are they for?

-In Helpful Hints on Writing a Political Science Ph.D. Dissertation, Van Evera focuses on presentation, and on broader issues of academic strategy and tactics.

-Van Evera asks how political scientists should work together as a community. “All institutions and professions that face weak accountability need inner ethical rudders that define their obligations in order to stay on course.

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