1st Edition

Methodological Concepts A Critical Guide

By Martyn Hammersley Copyright 2023
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    Methodological Concepts: A Critical Guide clarifies many key terms and issues in social research methodology. It outlines the conventional meanings of these terms, but also addresses their contentious character. The aim is to offer interpretations of them that provide a coherent conception of the nature of social science.

    This book is premised on the idea that more clarity about the meaning of major methodological concepts is essential, and that the disagreements which pervade the field must be addressed. Numerous key terms are discussed across 13 chapters, including ‘methodology’, ‘method’, ‘inquiry’, ‘research’, ‘science’, ‘truth’, ‘fact’, ‘rigour’, ‘bias’, ‘objectivity’, ‘data’, ‘evidence’, ‘induction’, ‘deduction’, ‘abduction’, ‘understanding’, ‘explanation’, ‘reflexivity’, ‘triangulation’, ‘theory’, and ‘researcher integrity’. These concepts have been implicated in fundamental divisions among social scientists, exemplified by the ‘paradigm wars’ of the past few decades. The chapters of this book provide an overview of the various meanings given to these terms, whilst also offering distinctive interpretations designed to provide a sound basis for social research.

    Methodological Concepts: A Critical Guide will be of great use to any student or researcher working in the social sciences.


    1. Methodology and method
    2. Inquiry, research, and science
    3. Truth
    4. Fact
    5. Bias and objectivity
    6. Rigour
    7. Data and evidence
    8. Deduction, induction, and abduction
    9. Understanding and explanation
    10. Reflexivity
    11. Triangulation
    12. Theory
    13. Researcher integrity


    Glossary of philosophical terms


    Martyn Hammersley is Emeritus Professor of Educational and Social Research at The Open University, UK. His research interests include the sociology of education, the sociology of the media, ethnography, and social research methodology. He is the author of numerous books, including The Politics of Social Research (1995), Reading Ethnographic Research (Second edition, 1997), Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice (2002), Questioning Qualitative Inquiry (2008), The Myth of Research-Based Policy and Practice (2013), The Limits of Social Science (2014), The Radicalism of Ethnomethodology (2018), Ethnography: Principles in Practice (Fourth edition, Routledge, 2019), The Concept of Culture (2019), and Troubling Sociological Concepts (2020).