The Challenge of Pluralism in Political Research

author: John Gerring, Department of Political Science, Boston University
published: March 14, 2010,   recorded: February 2009,   views: 2921
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Pluralism can take the form of an ontological and epistemological diversity of approaches; it also finds expression in the pooling of complementary research techniques, including qualitative data, in the positivist toolkit. A third form of pluralism informs and learns from different approaches, standing between world views and detailed methods. It is analogous to social and political pluralism, without segregation or assimilation, and marked by mutual influence and development. It is not a search for the ultimate truth but recognizes the inherent uncertainty of the social sciences. We may never arrive at a shared understanding of the social world, but different perspectives may help us to understand various aspects and sustain a debate about the whole. Written with Donatella Della Porta.

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Comment1 INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION (IPSA), March 4, 2010 at 4:30 p.m.:

The Challenge of Pluralism in Political Research

Abstract:

Pluralism can take the form of an ontological and epistemological diversity of approaches; it also finds expression in the pooling of complementary research techniques, including qualitative data, in the positivist toolkit. A third form of pluralism informs and learns from different approaches, standing between world views and detailed methods. It is analogous to social and political pluralism, without segregation or assimilation, and marked by mutual influence and development. It is not a search for the ultimate truth but recognizes the inherent uncertainty of the social sciences. We may never arrive at a shared understanding of the social world, but different perspectives may help us to understand various aspects and sustain a debate about the whole.

Authors:
Michael Keating
European University Institute, Italy

Donatella Della Porta
European University Institute, Italy

Download full paper: http://paperroom.ipsa.org/papers/pape...

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