Reminiscing about BSSM

I used to run a social science methodology discussion group. Dumping the event list here, since the direction of travel of discussions tends to repeat, e.g., mixing methods, role of theory, sample size, limits of introspection, …

When Info / Readings
Thurs 6 Feb BISR BSSM research network social

This is a joint event with BSSM and the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research. Lunch will be included.

Tues 21 Jan Hilda Weiss, sociologist: A critical theorist of a lesser kind?

Detlef Garz, Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg (HWK) Institute for Advanced Study

Hilda Weiss (29 August 1900 – 29 May 1981) was a sociologist and one of the first doctoral students at the Institute for Social Research in Frankfurt (joining 1924) which is famous for its role in developing critical theory. She played a central role in designing and running a large study of political views and employment conditions in Germany, 1930, working with Erich Fromm. Given her life, contributions to sociology, and methodological innovations, it seems odd that she has been mostly relegated to the occasional footnote in papers on people like Fromm. This talk will explore her life and contributions to sociology and critical theory.

Please sign up on Eventbrite

Thurs 7 Nov Analytic philosophy as critical theory: what can it do for empirical studies of gender?

Katharine Jenkins, University of Nottingham

Although the distinction between ‘analytic’ and ‘continental’ philosophy is difficult to pinpoint and easy to critique, there is nevertheless a fairly distinct literature that can be thought of as ‘analytic philosophy of social science’. Moreover, critical theory – theory understood as part of an emancipatory social movement – is often seen as part of continental philosophy and not as part of analytic philosophy. Crucially, critical theory involves being in contact with, and responsive to, one or more social justice movements, and developing theoretical tools that are useful for advancing the aims of these movements.In this talk, I explore the possibility for undertaking analytic philosophy of social science as a form of critical theory, with the intention of supplying tools to empirical social science that can aid emancipatory work. Using gender as a case study, I argue that it is possible to use the methods of analytic philosophy to fulfil the aims of critical theory, and that the clarity and precision that analytic philosophy brings can be useful for empirical research. I offer an analytic framework for thinking about social categories or kinds that is suited to projects in critical theory, and I apply this framework to gender in a way that is responsive to transfeminist movements.

Please sign up on Eventbrite

Wed 16 Oct Work in progress: Prediction versus history in political science

Robert Northcott, Philosophy

Robert will introduce a draft of a chapter he is writing on the philosophy of political science. The draft chapter argues that, usually, retrospective testing of wide-scope theories or models will not be appropriate for political science and that forward-looking prediction is required instead. But given the difficulty of the latter, in turn the main actual focus should be on contextual historical work. It then illustrates via a case study what role such a contextual approach leaves for wider-scope theory. It concludes by assessing the scope for political science to offer policy advice.

Weds 24 July Free association

Claudia Lapping, UCL

This session will be a brief introduction to the use of free association as a social research method. You will be invited to try out a couple of exercises: individual free writing and (in pairs) how to encourage free associations in interviews

Weds 29 May Generalising from case studies

Ylikoski, P. (2018). Mechanism-based theorizing and generalization from case studies. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A. In press, corrected proof.

Fri 12 April The constant comparative method

Quinn, K. G., Murphy, M. K., Nigogosyan, Z., & Petroll, A. E. (2019). Stigma, isolation and depression among older adults living with HIV in rural areas. Ageing and Society, 1–19.Boeije, H. (2002). A Purposeful Approach to the Constant Comparative Method in the Analysis of Qualitative Interviews. Quality and Quantity, 36, 391–409.

Thurs 7 March Mixing qualitative methods

Cassell & Bishop (2018). Qualitative data analysis: Exploring themes, metaphors and stories. European Management Review.

Clarke, Willis, Barnes, Caddick, Cromby, McDermott & Wiltshire (2015). Analytical pluralism in qualitative research: A meta-study. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 12(2), 182-201.

Wed 23 Jan Telling more than we can know?

Petitmengin, C., Remillieux, A., Cahour, B., & Carter-Thomas, S. (2013). A gap in Nisbett and Wilson’s findings? A first-person access to our cognitive processes. Consciousness and Cognition, 22, 654–669.

Petitmengin, C. (2006). Describing one’s subjective experience in the second person: An interview method for the science of consciousness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 5, 229–269.

Nisbett, R.E. & Wilson, T.D. (1977). Telling more than we can know: Verbal reports on mental processes. Psychological Review, 84, 231–259.

Tues 4 Dec What happens when mixed method findings conflict?

Johnson, R.B., Russo, F. & Schoonenboom, J., 2017. Causation in Mixed Methods Research: The Meeting of Philosophy, Science, and Practice. Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

Moffatt, S. et al., 2006. Using quantitative and qualitative data in health services research – what happens when mixed method findings conflict? BMC Health Services Research, 6, p.28.

Mon 12 Nov Launch!