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Approaches and Methodologies in the Social Sciences (European University Institute)

The aim of this workshop is to discuss main approaches to political science and sociology, the principal steps in designing research, and some methods for data collection.

The European University Institute (EUI) is a unique international centre for doctorate and post-doctorate studies and research. Since its establishment 40 years ago by the six founding members of the then European Communities, the EUI has earned a reputation as a leading international academic institution with a European focus. The four departments – Economics, History and Civilization, Law, and Political and Social Sciences – host scholars from more than 60 countries, studying for the Institution’s doctorate or one-year masters in law or European economics.

This workshop takes into account the diverse national and disciplinary background of first year research, and attempts to develop some common knowledge, without losing the richness of plurality. The seminar as a whole, as well as the individual sessions, aims at critically contrasting the advantages as well as problems of the various strategies in the construction of scientific knowledge.

The seminar stems from SPS department’s commitment to methodological pluralism and informed debate. Specifically its aims are:

• To provide an overview of approaches in the social sciences, in order to help students to choose their own approach for the thesis, to justify this approach, and to situate it within the discipline;

• To ensure that PhD graduates become fully literate social scientists, able to read and understand work written within different traditions and approaches;

• To introduce researchers to the main issues of debate and contention in the methodology of social sciences and to demystify some of this debate, identifying commonalities, historic continuities, and genuine differences;

• To give first year researchers a common experience and socialization and to encourage them to discuss their own work across sub-disciplines and methodological approaches.

In the second part, some specific research designs will be presented and researchers will be asked to present their own work in progress within chosen sessions.

Readings are mainly chapters from D. della Porta and M. Keating (eds.), Approaches and methodologies in the social sciences, Cambridge, Cambridge university Press.

For further information, see: http://www.eui.eu/Documents/DepartmentsCentres/SPS/Seminars/SeminarsF2013/DDPApproachesandMethodologies.pdf


14 Nov 2013



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