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Research methods lecture number 1

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Katarzyna Gracz

on 7 December 2015

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Transcript of Research methods lecture number 1

Approaches differ in 3 respects
Are Social Sciences Science at all?
Analytical Approaches
in Social Sciences

A system of
analytical approaches
(strategies) used in a particular area of study or activity
What is methodology?

in Social Sciences
that deals with the theory and practice of
and the description and analysis of political system and political behaviour.

Political Science
Don't get lost
in your research!
A Compass to
Research Methodology

Politics is about power.
Political science
studies the distribution and exercise of power in the situation of conflicting social interests
Of Political Science
International Relations
Domestic and Comparative Politics
Political Research Methods
Public Policy
Political Theory
International Relations
International relations (IR) is the study of relationships among countries,
the roles of sovereign states, inter-governmental organisations, international non-governmental organisations, non-governmental organisations, and multinational corporations

is the
of conducting negotiations between representatives of states. It usually refers to international diplomacy, the
of International Relations.
Studying vs research
Consumption vs Production of knowledge
Historical developments
Beginnings traced to Ancient Greece:

It is about power
in the situation of a social conflict.
Way of perceiving something
A plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim
Is Social Science equal to or different from Natural Sciences?

What does it mean to be scientific in the field of
Social Sciences?
How approaches differ
What exists?
What is the nature of the social world?
What sort of knowledge of it is possible?
How can we know about it?
What kind of strategies can we use to gain that knowledge?
Scientific realism
Social world is like natural world
We know only what we can observe
: observation
Scientific Realism
Equal to natural world
(independent reality)
Scientific knowledge not limited to what we observe. It includes also theoretical entities.
observation and application of logic to observable and unobservable structures
Different from natural world!
Reality is NOT mind-independent: it is subjectively created!
Knowledge through interpreting the meanings which give people reasons for acting
: Interpretive theory and textual strategies. Social world is like a book.
Scientific Method
Collection of data
Analysis of data
Testing of assertions
Science's explanations
are ALWAYS incomplete and tentative
Always subject to falsification
Steps involved
Formulate a hypothesis
Operationalise concepts
Identify independent and dependent variables
Clarify measurement criteria
Distinguish between correlation and causation
Develop theory
starts here
starts here
Find your interest
Find your field
Find the research question
Types of research questions
Where does the hypothesis come from?
Descriptive question
Characteristics of something / how sth works/ how behaves
You want to know:
What will you do?
Describe the characteristics;
model how sth works or behaves
Explanatory question
You want to know:
The causes of sth that has occurred or is happening
What will you do?
Explain what factors or conditions are causally connected to a known outcome
You want to know:
The future outcome of current conditions or trends
What will you do?
Predict what outcome will occur as a result f a set of known factors or conditions
You want to know:

The things that can be done to bring about some outcome
What will you do?
Prescribe what should be one to prevent sth from happening or bring sth about
You want to know:
What is best, just, right, or preferable, and what, therefore ought to be done (or not done) to bring it about (or prevent it )
What will you do ?
Adjudicate among different understanding of how sth should be,or what ought to be done, by considering the arguments of others and submitting rational reasons for one's own



A dominant approach in the 1950s when the story of European integration begins
To understand the European integration we should concentrate on analysing states
The whole theoretical debate on the nature of European integration either supports or criticises the realistic approach
Theories of European Integration
Supranational Governance
Intellectual Background of Theories explaining European Integration
Mitrany and Functionalism
Spinelli and Federalism
Monnet and Functional - Federalism
David Mitrany (1888-1974) and Functionalism
Not a theorist of European integration
His concern was: how to build a
Working Peace System
Why war? Nationalism war
World federation (like League of Nations) not a good idea - threat to individual freedom
Same trouble with regional federation - nationalisms on a larger scale, just different level
Proposed solution: creation of series of separate international functional agencies
Spinelli Altiero (1907-1986) and Federalism
Spinelli a leader of the European Union Federalists, formed from Resistance movements
Federalism appealing because nationalism is not the only trouble (second world war in Italy, France was not caused by nationalism)
While prisoners of fascists on the island of Ventotene - Ventotene Manifesto (1941) calling for European Federation
Most priviliged classes under old national systems would seek to reconstruct the order of nation states as it was before the war.
New troubles between the classes - war
Jean Monnet (1888- 1979) and Functional Federalism
France - Germany -> constant war over resources
Need of a common market
Supranational institutions -> European Coal and Steel Community
Coal and steel intended only as starting points
Ernst Haas (inspired mainly by Mitrany and Monnet)
Pluralist theory of international relations.
In contrast to traditional realist theories it did not assume that state = single unified actor.
Nor did it assume that states were the only actors on the international stage.
Importance of interest groups - both on the domestic and international arena
European integration is advanced through 'spillover pressures'
(functional, political, cultivated, geographical spillovers)
Non-state actors are important: multinational corporations, European Commission (manipulating to advance the integration)
Stanley Hoffmann
European integration had to be viewed in a global context.
Regional integration was only one aspect of the development of the global international system
Only national governments are powerful actors in the process of European integration: they control the nature and pace of integration process
Governments might accept closer integration in the technical functional sectors, where national interests coincided BUT integration WILL NOT SPREAD to areas of high politics (national security, defence etc.)
'False arithmetic' of neofunctionalists
Government decisions could not be understood simply as a response to pressure from organized interests->
In many situations governments take positions to whic powerful groups are hostile -> domestic concerns: national economy, electoral implications for the governing party.
Interest groups more active and important in 'low- politics' sectors (social, regional policy)
But the integration process IS interovernmental in nature:
it would go only as far as the governments were prepared to allow it to go.
Hoffmann, like the realists, stressed that states are independent actors but constrained by their position in the world system.
Liberal Intergovernmentalism
Liberal Intergovernmentalism
Andrew Moravcsik
Most important: states as rational actors, but a state is not a 'black box'.
Governments play 'two-level games':
domestic political process defines the national interest in international relations
Primary determinant of the government's preferences:
balance between economic interests within the domestic arena
Preferences of national governments, not preferences of supranational organisations
Why do national governments delegate decision - making authority to supranational institutions: they believe that supranational organizations can best enforce and implement the policy decisions negotiated by national governments.
Postfunctionalist Theory
of European Integration
Supranational Governance
If the EU was to be analysed as an international regime then it has to be a series of regimes for different policy sectors
Different levels of supranationalism in different policy sectors
The three key elements:
1) development of transnational society
2) the role of supranational organisations
3) European rule making to resolve 'international policy externalities'
Postfunctionalist Theory of European Integration
"Functional pressures are one thing, regime outcomes are another.
Community and self governance, expressed in public opinion and mobilized by political parties, lie at the heart of jurisdictional design."
(Hooghe and MArks 2008:23)
New Institutionalism
Not only behaviour but also institutions are important
Institutionalism-> behavioural approach - new institutionalism
3 types:
Rational Choice Institutionalism
Historical Institutionalism
Sociological Institutionalism
Rational Choice Institutionalism
Behaviour of political actors is shaped by the specific framework of rules within which they operate
Historical Institutionalism
Political relationships have to be viewed over time.
Decisions are shaped by the nature of pre-existing institutional relationships.
Path dependence.
Sociological Institutionalism
Behaviour of political actors is shaped by informal norms and values
Governance and Networks
Proliferation of non-state actors in the policy process
Policy networks and epistemic communities
Policy network: set of resource-dependent organizations. Analysis of sectoral policy
Epistemic communities: knowledge-based groups that are most likely to be influential when policy makers face uncertainty over policy choices.
Multi-Level Governance
Roots in neofunctionalism but a theory of nature of the EU not of the integration process
Even though they speak about integration as well saying that governments were not in control of the process.
Actors at supranational and sub-national level played a key role
Supranational EU institutions are autonomous
Transnational and transgovernmental alliances mean that states are open to external influences.
Commission can exploit the situation and promote its own agenda
Critical Perspectives
Social Constructivism

Critical Political Economy
Gender Perspectives

So once again:
Why do we need methodology?
During all your academic career you have most of the time learned from the research conducted by others
Science vs Common knowledge

Social Science differs from journalism
Now you will finally conduct your own!
Interdisciplinary research
or dilettantism?
Your future methodological motto:
Your alternative motto:
Full transcript