Logic of Social Inquiry

Course Description: 

This is a course on the ‘logic’ and politics of social inquiry. The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the logic and methods of inquiry in the social sciences.  The course is divided into three parts.  We begin by considering the politics of social inquiry: what constitutes knowledge? How are specific modes of inquiry authorised? The aim here is for students to consider the politics and intent that are sometimes left unsaid in the construction of research projects.  Students will be encouraged to think through and critique their own intentions as well as the specific academic and cultural politics that authorise certain forms of knowledge practice.


The second part of the course will focus on methods of social research.  The aim here is for students to familiarise themselves with methods of inquiry used in the making of what constitutes knowledge in the social sciences.  The third part of the course considers the impact of what we will have studied thus far for conceiving and writing that strange and often contradictory creature known as a ‘research proposal’.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of the course, students should have a clear idea of the gap between a research idea - based on empirical evidence, a political or social intent, or a perception of social and historical reality - and the translation of that ‘idea’ into ‘knowledge’.  Students should be familiar with important methods of inquiry deployed to close that gap as well as the ‘political’ choices made in doing so.  Students should then be able to formulate their own research project, in the form of a nascent research proposal.


Basis of Evaluation:

 Research proposal: 50%

Mid term paper: 30%

Class participation: 20%

 The main form of assessment in this class is the development of a research proposal, which is effectively a way of introducing your research to a wider audience and asserting how it connects to, and perhaps goes beyond, traditions of inquiry in the social sciences.  ‘Connects to’ does not mean repeat or agree: it means being able to articulate where your perspective on research comes from.  The research proposal will be worked on together and in small teams, an through in-class workshops.

 Students will also be asked to write a mid term paper, more details on that will follow, but the aim is for students to think through the meaning and intentionality of research projects.

 Class participation - meaning participation in online discussions, in-class workshops, and general class discussion - is important :)