Reflections on Methodology forPhD Research in the Social Sciences                             Bonn Juego     Theories, Con...
Starting Point“ There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dreadthe fatigue climb of its steep paths    ...
The ProblematiqueJust ONE main problem   – the rest will be sub-questions                                      3
Positivist and Normative      Social Science     “ What is ”          and/or“ What should be ”                           4
On the Question of        Value-free Social Science “ There is no way of studying social reality other than from the      ...
Argument or Hypothesis Argument (prove)          or Hypothesis (test)                         6
Objective: Contribution to Knowledge             (Original and/or Significant)• Thesis: reading, thinking, researching, wr...
Conceptual Framework             (working with key concepts)     Study and Establish RELATIONSHIP– Causality   • A causes ...
From my thesis conclusionDialectical Relationship                             9
Argumentation          (Deductive and/or Inductive)                        In my thesis:continuous DIALOGUE between Deduct...
Theoretical FrameworkRemember, it is a FRAMEWORK.       What? (identify)        Why? (justify)       HOW? (specify)       ...
Trade-off      Elegance vs Relevance“ The general reader will have to  make up his mind, whether he   wants simple answers...
Empirical Methodology  (Qualitative and/or Quantitative)Remember, it is a METHODOLOGY.          What? (identify)          ...
On the ‘Law of Instrument’“ … [I]f the only tool you have is a             hammer, …  [you] treat everything as if it     ...
On Method and Truth• Others validate truth based on using the  correct method  – neoclassical economics and many other    ...
Be patient and kind to yourself!   Methodology gets refined       — as you do your fieldwork; — as you get acquainted with...
Good luck!    Thank you.    Godspeed!      Bonn JuegoAalborg University, Denmark
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Bonn Juego (2013) Reflections on Methodology for PhD Research in the Social Sciences

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Theories, Concepts and Methods in Development Studies and Sociology
(PhD Seminar)

11 February 2013

Research Center on Global Development Studies
Department of Political Science
The Doctoral School of Social Sciences
Aalborg University, Denmark

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Bonn Juego (2013) Reflections on Methodology for PhD Research in the Social Sciences

  1. 1. Reflections on Methodology forPhD Research in the Social Sciences Bonn Juego Theories, Concepts and Methods in Development Studies and Sociology (PhD Seminar) 11 February 2013 Research Center on Global Development Studies Department of Political Science The Doctoral School of Social Sciences Aalborg University, Denmark
  2. 2. Starting Point“ There is no royal road to science, and only those who do not dreadthe fatigue climb of its steep paths have a chance of gaining its luminous summits. ” — Karl Marx 2
  3. 3. The ProblematiqueJust ONE main problem – the rest will be sub-questions 3
  4. 4. Positivist and Normative Social Science “ What is ” and/or“ What should be ” 4
  5. 5. On the Question of Value-free Social Science “ There is no way of studying social reality other than from the viewpoint of human ideals.A ‘disinterested social sciences’ has never existed and, for logical reasons, cannot exist. The value connotations of our main concepts represents our interest in a matter, gives direction to our thoughts and significance to our inferences. The recognition that our very concepts are value-loaded impliesthat they cannot be defined except in terms of political valuations. It is, indeed, on account of scientific stringency that these valuations should be made explicit. ” —Gunnar Myrdal 5
  6. 6. Argument or Hypothesis Argument (prove) or Hypothesis (test) 6
  7. 7. Objective: Contribution to Knowledge (Original and/or Significant)• Thesis: reading, thinking, researching, writing• Review of Related Literature – To show familiarity with the field – To get leads, ideas, references – To figure out your contribution (niche; value-added)• Importance of having chapter outline and chapter-by-chapter headings asap! 7
  8. 8. Conceptual Framework (working with key concepts) Study and Establish RELATIONSHIP– Causality • A causes B. • Independent and Dependent Variables– Correlation • If A is there, B is also there.— Dialectics (from my PhD Thesis) • Interrelations and Contradictions between A, B, C 8
  9. 9. From my thesis conclusionDialectical Relationship 9
  10. 10. Argumentation (Deductive and/or Inductive) In my thesis:continuous DIALOGUE between Deductive and Inductive Approach (co-evolution) 10
  11. 11. Theoretical FrameworkRemember, it is a FRAMEWORK. What? (identify) Why? (justify) HOW? (specify) 11
  12. 12. Trade-off Elegance vs Relevance“ The general reader will have to make up his mind, whether he wants simple answers to hisquestions or useful ones — in this as in other economic matters he cannot have both. ” — Joseph Schumpeter 12
  13. 13. Empirical Methodology (Qualitative and/or Quantitative)Remember, it is a METHODOLOGY. What? (identify) Why? (justify) HOW? (specify) 13
  14. 14. On the ‘Law of Instrument’“ … [I]f the only tool you have is a hammer, … [you] treat everything as if it were a nail. ” 14
  15. 15. On Method and Truth• Others validate truth based on using the correct method – neoclassical economics and many other quantitative, mathematics-based researches• But using the correct method is not always equivalent to finding the truth! 15
  16. 16. Be patient and kind to yourself! Methodology gets refined — as you do your fieldwork; — as you get acquainted with your data, relevant literatures, and other materials; — and as you write the thesis. 16
  17. 17. Good luck! Thank you. Godspeed! Bonn JuegoAalborg University, Denmark

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