Course Title: Philosophical Foundation of Social Science Research

Course Code: RPH 771                                     Credit hours: 3

Teaching hours:  48                             Level: Doctor of Philosophy

Objectives of the Course

This course is designed for the course-based Ph. D. programme of Tribhuvan University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. The main objective of this course is to strengthen the students’ understanding of philosophical foundations of humanities and social science research. More specifically, this course will enable students to envision research issues through a particular disciplinary philosophical lens and accordingly take guidance in choosing appropriate research strategies. This course provides students with necessary knowledge of disciplinary episteme and encourages them to apply the knowledge and skills gained from the course to the entire work specified in the Seminar on Research Design (SRD772) course.

Details of Contents

Content                                                                TH

Unit I: Aim of Social Science Research                                3

  • Overview on Concept and Definition of Research
  • Overview on Research Methodology and Methods
  • Aim of Social Science and Social Science Research: Description, Explanation, Prediction

 Key Readings:

Leedy, P. D. and Ormrod, J. E. (1993). What is Research? (Part One: The Fundamentals), Practical Research: Planning and Design (Ninth Edition). Boston: Published by Pearson Education, Inc.

Mukherji, P. N. (2000). Introduction: Methodology in Social Research: Dilemmas and Perspectives, In P. N. Mukharji(ed.), Methodology in Social Research Dilemmas and Perspectives. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Unit II: Philosophical Foundation of Social Science Research          12

  • Relationship between Ontology (Objectivism,Subjectivism), Epistemology (Positivism-Scientific, Post-modernism (Interpretivism), Critical Theory), Methodology (Deductive, Inductive, Abductive),Methods (Quantitative, Qualitative, Mixed) and

Sources (Survey and Interview Transcripts)

Key Readings:

Bhaskar, R. (2008). A Realist Theory of Science (Introduction). New York: Routledge.

Grix, J. (2002). Introducing Students to the Generic Terminology of Social Research. Politics: 2002 Vol. 22(3), 175–186.

Guba, E. G., & Lincoln, Y. S. (1994). Competing paradigms in qualitative research. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (pp. 105-117). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Holden, M. T. and Lynch, P. (n.d.). Choosing the Appropriate Methodology: Understanding Research Philosophy. Cork Road, Waterford: Waterford Institute of Technology.

Kemeny, J. G. (1959). A Philosopher Looks At Science (The Method – Chapter 5). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Lemons, N., (2007). An Introduction to the Theory of Knowledge (page 1-13). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Mukherji,  P. N. (2000). Introduction: Methodology in Social Research: Dilemmas and Perspectives, In P. N. Mukharji(ed.), Methodology in Social Research Dilemmas and Perspectives. New Delhi: Sage Publications.

Oppong, S.  (2014). A Critique of the Philosophical Underpinnings of Mainstream Social Science Research. Ghana: African University College of Communication & University of Ghana. Retrieved from  http://www.academicus.edu.al/nr10/Academicus-MMXIV-10-242-254.pdf

Searle, J. R. (2006). Social Ontology: Some Basic Principles. Papers 80, 51-71. Berkeley: University of California.

Unit III: Science and Scientific Method                                 10

  • Naïve science, Pseudo-science, True science
  • Characteristics of Science
  • Methods of Scientific Explanation (Scientific methods): Research questions, Hypotheses, Experimentation/Observation, Reasoning
  • Scientific Explanation:Good Explanation, Bad Explanation, Incomplete Explanation
  • Explanation and Prediction, Hierarchy of Explanation
  • The Role of “Purpose” in Explanation

Key Readings:

Babbie, E. (1990). Survey Research Methods (The Logic of Science). Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Bhatacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices (Chapter 1 and 2). USF Tampa Bay Open Access Textbooks Collection. Book 3.

Kemeny, J. G. (1959). A Philosopher Looks At Science (Chapter 9. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Kemeny, J. G. (1959). A Philosopher Looks At Science What is Science (Chapter10). New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company.

Kerlinger, F. N. (1964). Foundations of Behavioural Research (Chapter 1, 2 and 3). New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Thorlindsson, T.  andVilhjalmsson, R. (2003). Introduction to the Special Issue: Science, Knowledge  and Society.  ACTA SOCIOLOG. Iceland: University of Iceland.

Unit IV: Causation and Research Design                              10

  • Law, Theory, and Model
  • Overview on Main Assumptions and Arguments of Selected Social Theories (functionalism, conflict theory, symbolic interactionalism, system theory, feminist theories, change theories)
  • Causation and Research Design
  • Criterion of causation

Nomothetic casual explanation

Idiographic casual explanation

Readings:

Bachman, R. and Schutt, R. K. (2003). The Practice of Research in Criminology and Criminal Justice (Causation and Research Design-Chapter 5). Retrieved from http://social.cs.uiuc.edu/class/cs598kgk-04/papers/Causation-Research-Design.pdf

Bhatacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices (Chapter 2, Theories and Models). USF Tampa Bay Open Access Textbooks Collection. Book 3.

Bronowski, J. (n.d.). The Common Sense of Science (Chapter Five). New York: Vintage Books.

Carter, M. J. and Fuller, C. (2015). Symbolic interactionism. Sociopedia.isa, DOI: 10.1177/205684601561, California State University, Northridge, USA

Coser, L. A. (1957). Social Conflict and the Theory of Social Change. The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 8, No. 3. (Sep., 1957), pp. 197-207.

Friedman, B. D. and Allen, K. M. (2014). Systems Theory. Retrived from:  file:///C:/Users/personal/Downloads/friedmanallenchapter12ned.pdf

Hulswit, M. (n.d.) A Short History of Casuation, The Netherlands: University of Nijmegen.

Intriligator, M. D. (1982). Research on Conflict Theory: Analytic Approaches and Areas of Application. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 307-327.

Mayne, J. (2015). Useful Theory of Change Models. file:///C:/Users/personal/Downloads/Mayne15-UsefulToCs.pdf

Sarikakis, K.  Rush, R. R., Grubb-Swetnam, A. and Lane, C. (2011). Feminist Theory and Research. Retrived from: https://homepage.univie.ac.at/katharine.sarikakis/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Feminist-Theory-and-Research1.pdf

Sato ,T. (2011). Functionalism Itsaxiomatics. Sociopedia.isa, DOI: 10.1177/205684601332, University of Tokyo.

Additional Readings:

Steel, D. (n. d.). Casualty, Casual Models, and Social Mechanism, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University.

Taylor, R. (1992). Freedom and Determinism. Retrieved from https://faculty.unlv.edu/jwood/unlv/Articles/TaylorFreeWill.PDF

Michael, L. (n.d.). Determinism. Retrieved from http://documents.routledge-interactive.s3.amazonaws.com/9781138793934/AS/Freewill/Determinism.pdf

Unit V: Validity and Reliability                                          8 

  • Defining validity
  • Triangulation
  • Ensuring validity
  • Reliability in quantitative research
  • Reliability in qualitative research
  • Validity and reliability in interviews: Validity and reliability in experiments, Validity and reliability in questionnaires, Validity and reliability in observations, Validity and reliability in tests, Validity and reliability in life histories

Key Readings:

Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (Chapter 6). London and New York: Routledge.

Carmines, E. G. and Zeller, R. A. (1987). Reliability and Validity Assessment. In J.  L. Sullivan and R. G. Niemi (Eds.), Quantitative Applications in Social Sciences, Series: Number 07-017. Beverely Hills/London: Sage Publications.

Additional readings:

Drost, E. A. (2011). Validity and Reliability in Social Science Research. Education Research and Perspectives, Vol.38, No.1. Retrived from http://www.erpjournal.net/ wp-content/uploads/2012/07/ERPV38-1.-Drost-E.-2011.-Validity-and-Reliability-in-Social-Science-Research.pdf

Unit VI: Research Ethics                                               5

  • Introduction
  • Informed Consent
  • Access and Acceptance
  • The Field of Ethics
  • Sources of Tension
  • Voices of Experience
  • Ethical Dilemmas
  • Ethics and Research Methods in Education
  • Ethics and Evaluative Research
  • Research and Regulation: Ethical Codes and Review
  • Sponsored Research
  • Responsibilities to the Research Community
  • Institutional Review Board (IRB)
  • Getting Ethnical Clearance in Nepal

Key Readings:

Cohen, L., Manion, L., and Morrison, K. (2007). Research Methods in Education (Chapter 2). London and New York: Routledge.

Babbie, E. (1990). Survey Research Methods (Chapter 19), Wadsworth Publishing Company.

Assessment Methods and Types

—————————————————————————–

Attendance                                10%

Participation                               10%

Presentation                              20%

Class examination

First exam (after 3rd Unit)                 20%

Second exam (after 6th Unit)              20%

Use of research philosophy in research

Proposal developed during SRD772 course 20%

—————————————————————————-

Total                                     100%

—————————————————————————-

Disciplinary Codes:

  1. Come to class in time. You may not be permitted to enter class, if you are late.
  2. Use of cell phone is strictly prohibited during class. Laptop can be used for the presentation purpose or with the permission of the Instructors.
  3. Students are required to be respectful with each other.
  4. Should come with precis of the reading to be discussed.