1st Edition

Conjectures and Evidences Methods of Inquiry in the Political and Social Sciences with Elementary Statistics

    This book examines some of the major and most commonly used methods and statistics necessary for social science research. It is meant primarily for the beginners, and hence does not require any prior training in research methodology or statistics.

    The methods discussed include aggregate data analysis, the method of survey research, experimental and quasi-experimental research designs, participant observation, content analysis, and focus groups study. In a separate chapter the issue of quantitative and qualitative research methods and their uses has been discussed. An attempt has been made to assess these methods especially from the point of view of their adoption and application by social scientists working in the developing economies.

    Print edition not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan or Bhutan)


    List of Tables

    List of Figures

    PART I

    1. Research Srategies: Quantitative and Qualitative

    Theory, Epistemological Concerns and Ontological Questions

    Trajectories of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

    Data and Data Collection Techniques in Quantitative and Qualitative Research

    Major Preoccupations of Quantitative and Qualitative Researchers

    Critique of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

    2. Research Methodology: Concepts Hypotheses and Variables

    Why learn methodology?

    Concepts, Hypotheses and Variables

    3. Research Designs: Experimental and Quasi Experimental

    J.S. Mill and the Experimental Method

    The Experiment

    Experimental Designs

    Quasi-Experimental Designs

    4. Aggregate Data Analysis

    What are Aggregate Data?

    Sources of Aggregate Data?

    Uses of Aggregate Data

    Analysis of Aggregate Data

    5. Survey Research: Data and Analysis

    Definition, Origin and Development of Survey Research

    Techniques of Survey Research

    Survey Data Analysis

    Problems and Limitations of Survey Research

    Conclusions: Some Solutions to the Problem of Survey Research

    6. Content Analysis

    History of Content Analysis

    Definition and Nature of Content Analysis

    Description of the Technique

    Examples of Content Analysis

    Qualitative-Quantitative Continuum in Content Analysis

    Assessment of Content Analysis

    7. The Logic and the Practice of Participant Observation

    Meaning Understanding and Sociology

    Meaning Understanding and Social Anthropology

    Participation and Understanding the Political Process

    Participant Observation: How to Practice It

    8. Focus Group Research

    History of Focus Group Research

    Nature and Types of Focus Group Research

    Description of the Technique

    Examples of Focus Group Research

    Focus Group Discussion as a Standalone Method?

    Focus Group, Participant Observation and Interview: A Comparative Assessment


    9. Measurement: the Cornerstone of Research

    Levels or Scales of Measurement:

    Nominal scale

    Ordinal scale

    Interval scale

    Ratio scale

    10. Organizing the Data: Frequency Distribution

    Frequency Distribution of Nominal Data

    Frequency Distribution of Ordinal Data

    Frequency Distribution of Interval/Ratio Data

    Cumulative Frequency and Cumulative Percentage

    Application of the Method of Simple Interpolationxi

    11. Measures of Central Tendency


    Median (Quartiles, Deciles, Percentiles)

    Arithmetic Mean

    Choosing an Appropriate Measure of Central Tendency


    12. Measures of Dispersion


    Mean Deviation

    Quartile Deviation

    Standard Deviation

    Selecting the Best Measure of Dispersion

    Relative Measures of Dispersion



    13. Correlation and Regression

    Strength of Association

    Direction of Association

    Correlation Coefficient


    Properties of Linear Regression


    14. Nonparametric Measures of Correlation

    Spearman’s Rank Correlation Coefficient

    Phi Correlation Coefficient

    Chi Square

    Contingency Correlation Coefficient

    Cramer’s V


    List of Important Formulas




    Rakhahari Chatterji was Professor in Political Science and Dean of the Faculty of Arts at the University of Calcutta. Books written by him include Working Class and the Nationalist Movement in India, Introduction to Comparative Political Analysis, Gandhi and the Ali Brothers-Biography of a Friendship (translated in Hindi and Marathi). Apart from editing a number of volumes he has contributed over a hundred papers to academic journals and newspapers. Currently, he is Honourary Distinguished Fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata.

    Partha Pratim Basu is Professor of International Relations at Jadavpur University, and also Executive President, Jadavpur Association of International Relations, Kolkata. He has also served as Editor, Jadavpur Journal of International Relations; Coordinator, One-year PG Diploma Course on Human Rights; and Director, School of Media, Communication and Culture, Jadavpur University. He has long experience of teaching Research Methodology in M. Phil and PhD course work classes.

    Jyotiprasad Chatterjee is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Barrackpore Rastraguru Surendranath College, West Bengal, India. His research interest includes social movements arising in and through the critical interface of democracy and development. As the Supervisor of West Bengal of CSDS- Lokniti-network, he has been associated with a number of survey based research projects and has developed a considerable expertise in managing and handling empirical data.

    Suprio Basu is Assistant Course Director, Rural Awareness and Self Employment, Department of Sociology, University of Kalyani, West Bengal, India. His research area includes democratic governance, policy research with a focus on democratic decentralisation, electoral behaviour and so on. Being the CSDS Lokniti’s West Bengal State Coordinator for the last two decades he has provided able leadership to a number of empirical research and has developed a unique skill in quantitative data analysis